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Pharmacology Mnemonics

Updated: Jan 20, 2019

Aminoglycoside Toxicity

The main concerns with the use of aminoglycoside antibiotics are nephrotoxicity and ototoxicity.

Aminoglycoside Toxicity

Nephrotoxicity is one of the most important side effects and therapeutical limitations of aminoglycoside antibiotics, especially gentamicin.


Nephrotoxicity induced by aminoglycosides manifests clinically as nonoliguric renal failure, with a slow rise in serum creatinine and a hypoosmolar urinary output developing after several days of treatment.


Nephrotoxicity: A wide variation in the incidence. Usually reversible. Increase in serum creatinine and BUN. Ototoxicity: Cochle and vestibular. Bilateral and permanent.

Aminoglycosides – Serum Peak and Trough

In view of reduced renal excretion, aminoglycosides require dosage modification in patients with renal failure.

Aminoglycosides – Serum Peak and Trough

Regular monitoring of serum level and adjustment of doses accordingly is necessary, and this is particularly relevant in patients undergoing continuous renal replacement therapy to maintain optimum bactericidal efficacy.

Amoxicillin (Amoxil)

Amoxil (amoxicillin) is a penicillin antibiotic. It fights bacteria in your body. It is used to treat many different types of infections caused by bacteria, such as ear infections, bladder infections, pneumonia, gonorrhea, and E. coli or salmone infection.

Amoxicillin (Amoxil)

Amoxil is also sometimes used together with another antibiotic called clarithromycin (Biaxin) to treat stomach ulcers caused by Helicobacter pylori infection. This combination is sometimes used with a stomach acid reducer called lansoprazole (Prevacid).

Ancef and Kefzol (Cefazolin)

Cefazolin is a cephalosporin (SEF a low spor in) antibiotic. It works by fighting bacteria in your body. Cefazolin is use treat many kinds of bacterial infections, including severe or life-threatening forms.

Ancef and Kefzol (Cefazolin)

Cefazolin is a cephalosporin (SEF a low spor in) antibiotic. It works by fighting bacteria in your body. Cefazolin is used to treat many kinds of bacterial infections, including severe or life-threatening forms.

Metronidazole (Flagyl)

Metronidazole is an antibiotic. It fights bacteria in your body. Metronidazole is used to treat bacterial infections of the vagina, stomach, skin, joints, and respiratory tract. This medication will not treat a vaginal yeast infection.

Metronidazole (Flagyl)

This antibiotic only treats bacterial and protozoal infections. It will not work for viral infections (e.g. common cold, flu). Unnecess use or overuse of any antibiotic can lead to its decreased effectiveness.

Ciprofloxacin (Cipro)

Ciprofloxacin is an antibiotic in a group of drugs called fluoroquinolones (flor-o-KWIN-o-lones). It fights bacteria in th body. It is also used to treat different types of bacterial infections.

Ciprofloxacin (Cipro)

Cipro is also used to treat people who have been exposed to anthrax.


Cephalosporins are a group of broad spectrum, semi-synthetic beta-lactam antibiotics derived from the mould Cephalosporium. They are divided into three groups: Cephalosporin N and C are chemically related to penicillins and Cephalosporin P a steroid antibiotic resembles fusidic acid.


The mechanism of action of cephalosporins is the same as penicillins. They interfere with bacterial cell wall synthesis.


This is the main type of treatment for HIV or AIDS. It is not a cure, but it can stop people from becoming ill for many years. The treatment consists of drugs that have to be taken every day for the rest of someone’s life.


Antiretroviral drugs are medications for the treatment of infection by retroviruses, primarily HIV.

Antibiotic Tree

Antibiotics are powerful medicines that fight bacterial infections. Used properly, antibiotics can save lives. They either bacteria or keep them from reproducing. Your body’s natural defenses can usually take it from there.

Antibiotic Tree

If a virus is making you sick, taking antibiotics may do more harm than good. Each time you take antibiotics, you increase the chances that bacteria in your body will be able to resist them.

Isoniazid (INH)

Isoniazid is an antibiotic. It prevents tuberculous bacteria from multiplying in the body. Isoniazidis used to treat and to prevent tuberculosis (TB).

Isoniazid (INH)

The mechanism of action of Isoniazid is not known, but it is thought to work through its effects on lipids (fats) and DNA within the tuberculosis bacterium.

Clotrimazole (Lotrimin)

Clotrimazole topical is an antifungal antibiotic that fights infections caused by fungus. It is used to treat skin infections such as athlete’s foot, jock itch, ringworm, and yeast infections.

Clotrimazole (Lotrimin)

Lotrimin is used topically on the skin, inserted vaginally or allowed to dissolve in the mouth for local fungal infections.

Peak and Trough

Ideally, peak and trough levels are drawn after the patient has received at least three scheduled maintenance doses. Exceptions may be made by the practitioner.

Peak and Trough

Peak and trough levels are drawn after the patient has received at least three scheduled maintenance doses. Exceptions may b made by the practitioner or pharmacist.

Penicillin (PCN)

Penicillin V is an antibiotic in the penicillin group of drugs. It fights bacteria in your body.Penicillin V is used to treat m different types of infections caused by bacteria, such as ear infections.


Today, many derivatives of penicillin have been developed which inhibit more types of bacteria than the original, life-saving drug.

2 QTS Say No to OBs

"Tetracyclines" cause fetal tooth discoloration and inhibition of bone growth if used in the second and third trimesters. "Quinolones" may cause arthropathies in children, and so are currently not recommended for use in pregnancy.

2 QTS Say No to OBs

The only antibiotics which may be of concern in nursing infants are sulfonamides and quinolones, and possibly metronidazole.


Respiratory syncytial virus immune globulin (RSV IG) is a sterilized solution obtained from pooled human blood. It contains the immunoglobulins (or antibodies) to protect against infection from respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a viru that can cause serious illness in children.


RSV IG is used to help prevent or reduce the severity of lower respiratory tract (lung) disease caused by respiratory syncytial vir children who are at increased risk.


Rocephin (ceftriaxone) is a cephalosporin (SEF a low spor in) antibiotic. It works by fighting bacteria in your body. Rocephin is used to treat many kinds of bacterial infections, including severe or life-threatening forms such as meningitis.

To reduce the development of drug-resistant bacteria and maintain the effectiveness of Rocephin (ceftriaxone) and other antibacterial drugs, Rocephin (ceftriaxone) should be used only to treat or prevent infections that are proven or strongly suspec to be caused by bacteria.

Tequin (Gatifloxacin)

Tequin is an antibiotic in a group of drugs called fluoroquinolones. It fights bacteria in the body.Tequin is used to treat bacterial infections of the lungs, sinuses, skin, and urinary tract. It is also used to treat certain sexually transmitted diseases.

Tequin (Gatifloxacin)

Do not give this drug to Diabetic patients.

Tetracycline Uses

Tetracycline, is used to treat bacterial infections, including pneumonia and other respiratory tract infections; acne; infections of skin, genital and urinary systems; and the infection that causes stomach ulcers (Helicobacter pylori). It al may be used as an alternative to other medications for the treatment of Lyme disease and for the treatment and prevention of anthrax (after inhalational exposure).

Tetracycline is in a class of medications called tetracycline antibiotics. It works by preventing the growth and spread of bacteria Antibiotics will not work for colds, flu, or other viral infections.

Azithromycin (Zithromax)

Azithromycin is used to treat certain bacterial infections, such as bronchitis; pneumonia; sexually transmitted diseases (STD); and infections of the ears, lungs, sinuses, skin, throat, and reproductive organs. Azithromycin also is used to treat people with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)].

Azithromycin is in a class of medications called macrolide antibiotics. It works by stopping the growth of bacteria. Antibiotics won't kill viruses that can cause colds, flu, or other infections.


Antifibrinolytics are used in menorrhagia and bleeding tendency due to various causes. Their application may be benef in patients with hyperfibrinolysis because they arrest bleeding rapidly if the other components of the haemostatic syste are not severely affected. This may help to avoid the use of blood products such as fresh frozen plasma (FFP) with its associated risks of infections or anaphylactic reactions.

These drugs block the binding sites of the enzymes or plasminogen respectively and thus stop plasmin formation.

Warfarin Sodium (Coumadin)

Coumadin is a prescription medicine used to treat blood clots and to lower the chance of blood clots forming in your body. Blood clots can cause a stroke, heart attack, or other serious conditions if they form in the legs or lungs.

To help warfarin (Coumadin) work effectively, it is important to keep your vitamin K intake as consistent as possible. Sudden increases in vitamin K intake may decrease the effect of warfarin (Coumadin). On the other hand, greatly lowering your vitamin intake could increase the effect of warfarin (Coumadin).


Heparin is an anticoagulant (blood thinner) that prevents the formation of blood clots. Heparin is used to treat and prevent blood clots in the veins, arteries, or lung.

Heparin is also used before surgery to reduce the risk of blood clots.

Heparin – Coumadin (Responding Lab Tests)

Partial thromboplastin time (PTT) and activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT) are used to test for the same functions; however, in aPTT, an activator is added that speeds up the clotting time and results in a narrower reference range. The aPTT is considered a more sensitive version of the PTT and is used to monitor the patient’s response to heparin therapy.

The reference range of the aPTT is 30-40 seconds. The reference range of the PTT is 60-70 seconds. Critical values that should prompt a clinical alert are as follows: aPTT: More than 70 seconds (signifies spontaneous bleeding) PTT: More than 100 second (signifies spontaneous bleeding)


Albumin helps move many small molecules through the blood, including bilirubin, calcium, progesterone, and medication. It plays an important role in keeping the fluid from the blood from leaking out into the tissues.

Albumin is used in the treatment of shock, burns or low blood protein to temporarily correct or prevent a blood volume deficient.

Iron Supplements

Iron supplements are dietary supplements containing iron that can be prescribed by a doctor for a medical reason, or purchased from a vitamin shop, drug store etc. They are primarily used to treat anemia or other iron deficiencies.

The patient may notice that his/her stools become black. This is completely harmless, but patients must be warned about this t avoid unnecessary concern. When iron supplements are given in a liquid form, teeth may reversibly discolor (this can be avoid through the use of a straw). Intramuscular injection can be painful, and brown discoloration may be noticed.

Clopidogrel (Plavix)

Clopidogrel is used to prevent heart attacks and strokes in persons with heart disease (recent heart attack), recent stro or blood circulation disease (peripheral vascular disease). It is also used with aspirin to treat new/worsening chest pain (new heart attack, unstable angina) and to keep blood vessels open and prevent blood clots after certain procedures (s as cardiac stent). It works by blocking certain blood cells called platelets and prevents them from forming harmful blood clots. This “anti-platelet” effect helps keep blood flowing smoothly in your body.

It might take longer than normal to stop bleeding if you cut yourself while taking clopidogrel.

Epoetin Alfa (Procrit)

Epoetin alfa injection is used to treat anemia (a lower than normal number of red blood cells) in people with chronic kidney failure (condition in which the kidneys slowly and permanently stop working over a period of time). Epoetin alfa inject is also used to treat anemia caused by chemotherapy in people with certain types of cancer or caused by zidovudine (AZT, Retrovir, in Trizivir, in Combivir), a medication used to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Epoetin alfa injection is also used before and after certain types of surgery to decrease the chance that blood transfusions (transfer one person’s blood to another person’s body) will be needed because of blood loss during surgery.

Epoetin alfa is in a class of medications called erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs). It works by causing the bone marrow ( tissue inside the bones where blood is made) to make more red blood cells.


Thrombolytic medications are approved for the immediate treatment of stroke and heart attack. The most commonly u drug for thrombolytic therapy is tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), but other drugs can do the same thing.

Thrombolytics work by dissolving a major clot quickly. This helps restart blood flow to the heart and helps prevent damage to th heart muscle. Thrombolytics can stop a heart attack that would otherwise be deadly.

Anticancer Drugs

The available anticancer drugs have distinct mechanisms of action which may vary in their effects on different types o normal and cancer cells. A single “cure” for cancer has proved elusive since there is not a single type of cancer but a many as 100 different types of cancer. In addition, there are very few demonstrable biochemical differences between cancerous cells and normal cells. For this reason the effectiveness of many anticancer drugs is limited by their toxicity normal rapidly growing cells in the intestinal and bone marrow areas. A final problem is that cancerous cells which are initially suppressed by a specific drug may develop a resistance to that drug. For this reason cancer chemotherapy ma consist of using several drugs in combination for varying lengths of time.

Chemotherapy drugs, are sometimes feared because of a patient’s concern about toxic effects. Their role is to slow and hopefu halt the growth and spread of a cancer.

ACE Inhibitors

Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors help relax blood vessels. ACE inhibitors prevent an enzyme in your b from producing angiotensin II, a substance in your body that affects your cardiovascular system by narrowing your blo vessels and releasing hormones that can raise your blood pressure. This narrowing can cause high blood pressure and force your heart to work harder.

ACE inhibitors are used for controlling high blood pressure, treating heart failure, preventing strokes, and preventing kidney damage in people with hypertension or diabetes. They also improve survival after heart attacks.

ACE Inhibitors 2

ACE inhibitors are used to treat heart disease. These medicines make your heart work less hard by lowering your blo pressure. This keeps some kinds of heart disease from getting worse. Most people who have heart failure take these medicines.

They also are used to treat diabetes and kidney problems. This can help keep your kidneys from getting worse.

Adrenergic Antagonists (Alpha-Blockers)

Alpha-blockers are medicines that are mainly used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure), and problems with pass urine in men who have enlargement of the prostate gland. If you have hypertension – alpha-blockers are usually prescribed after most other medicines have been tried. If you have problems passing urine (because of an enlarged prostate), the decision to start alpha-blockers depends on how much you are bothered by the symptoms. Side-effects uncommon (slight drowsiness, headaches, and dizziness). They are more likely to occur in the first two weeks of treatment, and usually go away on their own.

Although side-effects are uncommon, they occur in some people. Side-effects are more likely to occur in the first two weeks of treatment, and usually go away on their own. The most common side-effects are slight drowsiness, headaches and dizziness. I are prescribed an alpha-blocker, read the leaflet that comes with the medicine packet for a full list of possible side-effects and cautions.

Adrenergic Antagonists (Beta-Blockers)

Beta-blockers are medicines that are used to treat various conditions including angina, high blood pressure, some abnormal heart rhythms, heart failure, myocardial infarction (heart attack), anxiety, overactive thyroid symptoms, glaucoma and migraine.

Most people who take beta-blockers have no side-effects, or only minor ones. However, because of their action in various parts the body, some people have unwanted side-effects such as the heart rate can go too slowly, Tiredness, depression, impotence.


Antiarrhythmic agents are pharmaceuticals used to combat cardiac arrhythmias. An arrhythmia is an abnormality of th rate or rhythm of the heartbeat, such as atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia

These drugs only control abnormal heart rhythms, not cure them.


Antihypertensive therapy seeks to prevent the complications of high blood pressure, such as stroke and myocardial infarction.

Although beta blockers lower blood pressure, they do not have a positive benefit on endpoints as some other antihypertensive.

Antihypertensives 2

There are many classes of antihypertensives, which lower blood pressure by different means; among the most importa and most widely used are the thiazide diuretics, the ACE inhibitors, the calcium channel blockers, the beta blockers, an the angiotensin II receptor antagonists or ARBs.

Among the most important and most widely used antihypertensive drugs are the thiazide diuretics, the ACE inhibitors, the calci channel blockers, the beta blockers, and the angiotensin II receptor antagonists or ARBs.

Beta-1 and Beta-2 Blockers

When referring to beta 1 and beta 2 blockers, It is not the blockers that are 1 and 2, but the receptors they are blockin There are actually three types of beta receptors. Beta 1 receptors are found in the heart and brain. Beta 2 receptors a found in the gastrointestinal tract, uterus, vascular smooth muscles, lungs, and skeletal muscles. Beta 3 receptors are found in fat cells.

Cardioselective beta blockers (beta1- selective blockers) have a clinical advantage in that they mainly affect the heart, which predominantly has beta1 receptors. The effect of broncho-constriction is less with beta1 selective blockers, as the bronchial mu has more beta2 receptors, however the danger of broncho-constriction cannot be totally ignored, as they are not totally selective.

Beta Blockers

Beta blockers, also known as beta-adrenergic blocking agents, are a class of drugs that works by blocking the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and epinephrine from binding to receptors. There are three known types of beta receptors, known as beta1 (β1), beta2 (β2) and beta3 (β3).

When the neurotransmitters are prevented from binding to the receptors, it in turn causes the effects of adrenaline (epinephrine be blocked. This action allows the heart to relax and beat more slowly thereby reducing the amount of blood that the heart mus pump. Over time, this action improves the pumping mechanism of the heart.

Calcium Antagonists

Calcium antagonist-based regimen is superior to other regimens in preventing stroke, equivalent in preventing ischemic heart disease, and inferior in preventing congestive heart failure. Calcium antagonists are also safe and effective as fir line or add-on therapy in diabetic hypertensive patients. Heart rate-lowering calcium antagonists (verapamil, diltiazem) may have an edge over the dihydropyridines in post-myocardial infarction patients and in diabetic nephropathy. Thus, calcium antagonists may be safely used in the management of hypertension and angina pectoris.

In several comparative studies in hypertensive patients, treatment with calcium antagonists was equally effective as treatment w diuretics, beta-blockers, or angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors.

Cordarone (Amiodarone)

Amiodarone belongs to the family of medications known as antiarrhythmics. It is used to treat certain types of abnor heart rhythms (arrhythmias). It works by changing how electrical impulses affect the heart muscle and by making the heart beat more regularly.

The effects of this medication may be noted as early as 3 days after starting treatment, but it is usually 1 to 3 weeks before beneficial effects are seen.


Digitalis medication works directly on the heart muscle to strengthen and regulate the heartbeat. It is used to treat cer heart conditions.

Diarrhea, loss of appetite, drowsiness, headache, muscle weakness, and fatigue may occur as the body adjusts to the medication.

Drugs for Bradycardia and Low Blood Pressure

Use IDEA to treat bradycardia and hypotension.

I – Isoproterenol, D – Dopamine, E – Epinephrine, A – Atropine

Emergency Drugs

Remember LEAN for emergency drugs.

L – Lidocaine, E – Epinephrine, A – Atropine, N – Narcan

Lidocaine Toxicity

Overdosage with lidocaine can be a result of excessive administration via topical or parenteral routes, accidental oral ingestion of topical preparations by children, accidental intravenous (rather than subcutaneous, intrathecal or paracerv injection or prolonged use of subcutaneous infiltration anesthesia during cosmetic surgical procedures. These occurren have often led to severe toxicity or death in both children and adults.

Lidocaine easily crosses from the blood to the brain, so, if an overdose has occurred, the following symptoms will probably sho first: headache, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), facial twitches, lightheadedness, a metallic taste, and numbness of the lips and ton

In higher doses, there may also be seizures, unconsciousness, apnea, and CV collapse. At the highest doses, heart failure occ

Focinopril (Monopril)

Fosinopril is an angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor used for the treatment of hypertension and some types chronic heart failure. Fosinopril is the only phosphinate-containing ACE inhibitor marketed. It is marketed by BristolMyers Squibb under the trade name Monopril.

Monopril works by decreasing certain chemicals that tighten the blood vessels, so blood flows more smoothly and the heart can pump blood more efficiently.


Nitroglycerin spray and tablets are used to treat episodes of angina (chest pain) in people who have coronary artery disease (narrowing of the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart). The spray and tablets may also be taken just before activities that may cause episodes of angina in order to prevent the angina from occurring. Nitroglycerin extend release (long-acting) capsules are used to prevent episodes of angina in people who have coronary artery disease. Th extended-release capsules can only be used to prevent angina attacks; they cannot be used to treat an attack once it h begun. Nitroglycerin is in a class of medications called vasodilators.

Nitroglycerin works by relaxing the blood vessels so the heart does not need to work as hard and therefore does not need as m oxygen.

Spironolactone (Aldactone)

Spironolactone is a potassium-sparing diuretic (water pill) that prevents your body from absorbing too much salt and k your potassium levels from getting too low.

Spironolactone also treats fluid retention (edema) in people with congestive heart failure, cirrhosis of the liver, or a kidney disord called nephrotic syndrome. This medication is also used to treat or prevent hypokalemia (low potassium levels in the blood).

Bumetanide Bumex

Bumetanide is a potent diuretic (water pill) that causes a profound increase in urine output (diuresis) by preventing the kidney from retaining fluid. Specifically, it blocks the reabsorption of sodium and fluid from the kidney’s tubules. It is in class of diuretics called “loop” diuretics which also includes furosemide (Lasix) and torsemide (Demadex).

Bumetanide is a very potent medication. Using too much of this drug can lead to serious water and salt/mineral loss.

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