A complete new and difficult topic and relatively unheard of terminologies and words are met in the subject called Pharmacology. This is what makes it one of the most difficult subject to learn and often needs mugging up of names of drugs. But as you become familiar to the terminologies and start getting comfortable with the drugs, pharmacology becomes fun. Its like a mathematics. ” You have this problem — this is the mechanism and the solution are these”
First year, the year of entry. When pharmacology is a stranger. You’ve never read about it and haven’t heard about drug names before, unlike anatomy, physiology and microbiology which you have come across in your college life.
This Article is in response to the requests of numerous Readers asking for guidance on studying pharmacology.
What Books to Study for Bachelor’s level ie MBBS?
1. K D Tripathi – Essentials of Medical Pharmacology – Must Read
2. Satoskar -Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapeutics
3. Lippincott’s Illustrated Reviews- Pharmacology
4. Goodman and Gilman’s Pharmacology
As far as its concerned, Pharmacology book by K D Tripathi will be almost enough. It has excellent and well written content and good pictorial examples.
Tips to Study Pharmacology-
1. Be acquainted with common pharmacological terms eg. prototype , pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics, idiosyncracy , tachyphylaxis , inotrope etc. Until you know the meaning of such common terminologies you’ll be stuck everytime you go through any chapter.
2.Start with the Basics of Pharmacology. First learn about the basic principles and mechanisms before going to core chapters.
3. Know the Anatomy and Physiology first before entering pharmacology. Eg Knowing about Receptors , ligands, transporters , Autonomic systems etc will help your better understand mechanism of drug actions.
4. When going through System-wise pharmacology- Go through the basic anatomy and physiology give at the start of the chapter instead of jumping to Drugs. The portion is well summarized and will help you understand things well.
5. First Try to Memorize the Drug Class and group with few common examples. Remember Prototype drug must be included in the list of drug you remember. Eg Class – Diuretics Group- Thiazides eg. Hydrochlorothiazide* which is a prototype of this class.There are always dozens of drugs in every class, try to remember those 3-4 which you find each to pronounce and remember. Always memorize the Prototype drugs eg Atropine, Adrenaline, Pilocarpine , Frusemide . Prototype is an Example drug which can demonstrate the general character of the class of drug group it belongs to.
6. Add drugs to your vocabulary on further readings. As you go through the chapter again try to memorize more and more drugs. Stop when things start to get confusing.
7. Remember in detail about the Prototype drug, its mechanism of action, adverse effects, contraindications, uses etc. The see how the drugs in the same group differ from prototype. Eg. know about Ciprofloxacin( Prototype of Fluroquinolones) – then see how gatefloxacin, moxifloxacin, ofloxacin differs from it. There will always be minors difference in term of advantace or side effect profile or preparation and route of delivery.
8. Studying Autonomic Nervous System(ANS )– ANS is most difficult but easy if you can understand it. It’s all about concept- try to understand it then drugs are just an add on to the chapter of physiology. Use the Lippincott’s Illustrated Reviews- Pharmacology to understand ANS better.
9. Try to remember the Drug classification everytime you go through a chapter. Once you know the drug name and class, you will know about the drug in general.Eg. Nifedipine is a Calcium channel blocker and an Antihypertensive.
10. Study the management plan of certain emergency disease conditions- Eg. Organophosphorus Poisoning, Diabetic Ketoacidosis , Acute exacerbation of Brochial Asthma, Acute Myocardia Infarction, Congestive cardiac failure etc
Remember, Pharmacology is the core to your medical practice in future. The better you are in it, a better physician you become.
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