Each week we compile all the latest pharmacology facts released on our social media platforms. This is great pharmacology for students, as these facts are bite-sized, random, and often important facts that all students of medicine should commit to memory.
- Clarithromycin (Biaxin) - made from erythromycin, known chemically as 6-O-methylerythromycin. It inhibits CYP3A4 and prolongs the QT interval.
- A TIP for recalling non-selective, irreversible MAOIs: - 'T'ranylcypromine - 'I'socarboxazid - 'P'henelzine.
- Fludarabine is an antimetabolite (purine analog) used to treat haematological malignancies - such as B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
- Mercaptopurine (a thiopurine) is an immunosuppressive agent used to treat acute lymphocytic leukemia, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
- Allopurinol increases the risk of mercaptopurine toxicity as it inhibits the enzyme - xanthine oxidase - that breaks down mercaptopurine.
- Qsymia (phentermine/topiramate) - weight loss. Phentermine is an anorexiant. Topiramate (anticonvulsant) has weight loss side effects.
- An orexigenic drug is a compound that increases appetite. Examples: prednisone, olanzapine, haloperidol, sulphonylureas.
- Alemtuzumab (IV inf.): Used to treat B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia/multiple sclerosis. It works by binding to CD52, a protein on mature lymphocytes. Its use is associated with an increased risk of opportunistic infections.
- Dantrolene is used to treat malignant hyperthermia, a condition typically triggered by exposure to volatile anesthetic agents.
- Dantrolene is a muscle relaxant that works by inhibiting calcium ion release from the sarcoplasmic reticulum by antagonising ryanodine receptors.
- 5-HT3 antagonists ('setrons' – Ondansetron and Granisetron): They are used to treat nausea/vomiting. Alosetron is, however, used for irritable bowel syndrome.
- H1 antagonists (eg. cyclizine) are commonly used for nausea induced by vertigo and motion sickness, whereas 5-HT3 antagonists are used in chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting (CINV).
- Cyclizine also exerts an anticholinergic effect (causes drowsiness, dry mouth); warrants caution in patients with prostatic hypertrophy, urinary retention, and narrow-angle glaucoma etc.
- Antiemetic dopamine antagonists (eg. domperidone, droperidol, metoclopramide) are predominantly D2 receptor antagonists.
- Cetuximab (Erbitux) is an EGFR inhibitor used to treat colorectal cancer and head and neck cancer. It is administered intravenously.
Mnemonics and mindmaps are also another great way to commit pharmacology to memory. But if you’d like to learn more about specific drug classes, check out these more detailed articles for more information.
Check out last week's pharmacology facts here!