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Nursing Pharmacology Made Easy: A 3 part series

Drug endings, antibiotics, psych and more

Pharmacology doesn’t have to be a nightmare – Picmonic is here for you! We are going to blow your mind with how simple the side effects, interactions, and even those confusing names, can really be.

After watching our three-part webinar series on Pharmacology Made Easy, you’ll be confident enough to recite all of those medication details (you CAN do it!).

Watch Pharmacology Made Easy – Drug Endings (Part 1) now:

After watching part 1, make sure you go learn the 10 Picmonics that were talked about in the lecture, then use the Quiz feature to test and solidify your knowledge!


Pharmacology Made Easy – Drug Endings (Part 1)

Welcome to our Picmonic webinars series. Picmonic is a powerful multisensory study tool to help you remember all the information you need to know in nursing school fast. This is prerecorded live webinar will be a three-part series on pharmacology. But before we get into it, make sure you had to picmonic.com to sign up for a free account. That way you can reference the Picmonics that are talked about in the lecture and continue to use Picmonic to memorize all the topics through to the end class. Now, let's join Dr. Wyatt as he teaches us about pharmacology.

Today we're going to talk about pharmacology and really just knowing your endings. This webinar is going to be in three parts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. That means three parts. And we're going to talk about different sections in each part. The first part is really kind of how to get started and go over the high yield, like hypertensive drugs. The next part, second part is antibiotics, and third part really is just kind of a hodgepodge of other drugs kind of mixed in there. So let's go and get started.

Excuse me. First off, my name is Kendall Wyatt. I am the Picmonics Content director. So I manage all the content for everything. I started out as a Paramedic, went to nursing school, then went to med school. I'm just finished up. But so, that's enough about me. You don't need to know about my stuff.

Picmonic takes everything you need to know in nursing school and turns it into fun images, so Nursing School, Med School, PA School, basically anything medicine. So if you add a bipolar disorder, you could remember it with something like this bipolar bear, which is really handy. We cover lots of different topics for all the things you need to know.

So first off, when we talk about this topic today, you know, it's kind of what are we going to do? We're going to talk about medication endings and some antihypertensives in Part 1. And like I said, Part 2 is antibiotics. Part 3 is just going to be some, you know, other medications, kind of a hodgepodge. And of course, as always, I always have my little magic cup here. One, because my mouth gets dry too. Two, because I make three cents every time I shaved that off.

So, whenever you do pharmacology, it's really important not to really drive a home, but a lot of memorization. There's tons of medications, so many things to remember and I can tell you, you can maximize what you're learning just by learning the drug endings. And that's really what we're going to talk about today.

All of the images and everything you see in our presentation today are all included on Picmonic website. Sign up for a free account at picmonic.com. And there's some links down below.

So we're going to talk about, you know, there's so many different medications. We're going to talk about how to identify drug endings and memorize those, and then what you really want to know are just memorizing really key points. You don't need to, at least in the nursing level to master every single tiny, little detail. And you don't need to focus on like the big things like does this medication causing nausea or vomiting?

Well, almost every medication can cause nausea or upset stomach or GI distress or diarrhea, constipation. But just, you want to remember that the obscure things. Does this medication cause about Ileus? Does this medication cause projectile vomiting? Or does it cause a cough? Does it cause, you know, what are the key ones or the signs and symptoms or the side effects rather of that particular medication. That's what's really important.

When you look at pharmacology and drugs, you need to remember it, again, key points. We're going to talk about drug endings today. You need to know the mechanism of action. So depending on what level you're at, if you're, you know, still starting out, you don't need to know great detail and physiology and tiny mechanisms of action, but if you're at a higher provider level or med school or NP, PA, you really need to know those mechanisms of action, all the physiology behind it. You've got to know why you're giving the drug indication and those side effects, of course, remembering high yield key facts side effects. That's what's important.

Considerations are just extra things. Some things we're going to talk about today, and so that you can remember because they're important things you need to tell your patients.

So let's get started with Part 1. Part 1, we're really going to talk about mostly antihypertensives. We're not going to talk to every single one, but really the highest deal. If there's one thing you must know, no matter what level you're at, you've got to know every detail about these medications. There's no skipping here. So antihypertensives, we've got our aunt wearing a tie with our hiker BP character for antihypertensives. And everything you're going to see here is consistent.

And the first one, I like to always start off with is one of my favorites. It's Beta Blockers. Beta blockers, as soon as I say beta blockers, you should say beta blockers. You should say beta fish, right? And we've got here our character, which is a blue beta fish, beta fish.

Now the way we're going to talk about, you know, staying in line or beta blockers and knowing the drug ending.  Well, beta blockers, always, there are few rare exceptions and for good reason, end in -olol. So, -olol, you need to remember that. Well, I like to remember here at Picmonic, we have our blue beta fish sitting on these blocks for beta blocker and then we've got of course, licking a lollipop - a fish with lips licking a lollipop. Oh my goodness. I know. It's just great. I love our little beta dish here. It's so cute.

But just by learning that right there, you can learn tons of different beta blockers. There's so many different ones. Look at this list of beta blockers here. There's so many different ones and there are a couple of key ones that end in -alol, which means they have alpha blocking capability as well, but that's not what we're going to stick with today. Learning this, you can immediately learn a beta blocker.

Now there's one thing you should be thinking about. When I say "beta blockers", what do you need to be thinking about when I say "beta blockers"? What is the one thing you need to monitor or worry or watch for when I say "beta blockers"? I say “beta blockers”, you say "heart rate". That's right. You really got to worry about monitoring the heart rate, because beta blockers cause up beta block. And one of the things what we have, a beta receptor block is for heart rate.

And now here's our Beta Blockers Picmonic. You can learn this inside of our learning system. Lots of different things here, but beta blockers, again, a beta fish on blocks with a lollipop. You remember that ending. We use beta blockers for hypertension, or hiker, BP, heart failure and Angio, our little angel guy here.

So, you can remember that. And what do you need to do is always check the heart rate. Now, I always get a nurse that would come to me and say, "What if I get a low heart rate?" I can't tell that patient not to take their medication. And you're right. At the nursing level, you can't say, you know, "Stop taking your medication." But you can tell them to hold a dose and you can notify the provider. Anybody who's a practitioner would just say, "Stop the medication." You know, or maybe we need to lower the dose or switch you to a different type of medication.

All of these medications, beta blockers, there's a big one. What do we need to monitor for it? What do we need to be worried about when patient is on Beta blockers? Well, we need to be worried about the fact that heart rate, number one. But also, be worried about the fact that Beta blockers can mask the signs of hypoglycemia. So, we've got our little masked hippo glue bottle right here inside of Picmonic. Just a little cute little nugget right there.

And what are those signs and symptoms? Well, Beta blockers block Beta receptors. And when they block Beta receptors, they prevent the release of epinephrine. And that prevention of a epinephrine, when you get a low blood sugar, your body throws out a bunch of epinephrine. And when it throws out that epinephrine, it causes those systemic symptoms. What are they? Well, that's going to have a little bit of tachycardia, which beta blocker blocks.

You're going to have, you're going to have a little bit of sweating, a little bit of diaphoresis, and you're not going to get those symptoms without that epinephrine, because of the Beta blocker. So it masks those signs of hypoglycemia. You need to remember.

It’s also important not to give a beta blocker in a patient with a heart block. We've got our heart with blocks here wrapped in caution tape or for asthma because it can cause a bronco constriction. Just important points - all of the drugs, almost every drug really, you never really want to stop them cold Turkey and all of these ones we're going to talk about, you'd want to taper them down or switch them to another medication. But in general, it's a bad idea to stop any medication, right away. But there's a couple that you need to remember to taper as well, like steroids.

So let's get started with the next one that I like. And that's Ace Inhibitors. ACE Inhibitors, Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors. Now we, if you don't understand the Renin-angiotensin system. Well I'm sorry. No, I'm just kidding. You can go check out our other webinar. We've got one on renal or lots of Picmonics on renal. Tens of different things help you learn all those and all the drugs. But we're just going to talk about ACE inhibitors first.

Ace inhibitors. Now, ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) is in the lung, right? That's right. Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors prevent the conversion of angiotensin I, angiotensin II. So, when I say ACE inhibitors here, we've got our wonderful little character or Ace card with inhibiting chains. And we've got what? Well, we've got our little pearls because ACE inhibitors end in -pril. That's right. So ACE inhibitors end in -pril. So we've got the fun little pearls here with our Ace card with inhibiting chains. Meet the little Ace card. Just got the little chain there, poor little thing.

Anyway, so, ACE inhibitors, you need to remember –pril, P-R-I-L. So you're going to learn lots of different ACE inhibitors just by memorizing the drug ending. But if I say ACE inhibitors, the first thing that you roll out of your mouth is "What side effect we have to watch for it right away?" I mean, it should be at the tip of your tongue. You should be spitting it out.

Cough. That's right. Cough - a dry cough. ACE inhibitors, because of the inhibiting ACE, it also inhibits bradykinin. And bradykinin basically causes a decrease of secretions or decrease. It allows for irritation basically in the throat and can cause this dry cough. That's a number one reason we want to look for. It's a very high yield question. And we'd want to switch them to what, another type of medication.

A really common thing is that a patient who has an ACE inhibitor, if they get that dry cough, we're going to switch them to another medication. But before we do that, let's take a look at our Ace Inhibitor Picmonic.

So you can take a look here. Here's our Ace card again, our little written wrench character in raspberries for an angiotensin system. But what are the other side effects of ACE inhibitors? Well, anytime you give an ACE inhibitor in antihypertensive, you worried about the opposite effect of what you're giving it for. So, you may have hypotension or hypo BP. There's that coughing coffee pot right there with his dry mouth to help you remember. Cough for ACE inhibitors with pearls on the table for -pril.

Other things we see are hyperkalemia, our hiker banana character. And sometimes we'll see angioedema, but not so common with ACE inhibitors. Other thing we're going to see with ACE inhibitors is a first dose effect, so very first dose. So here, we've got our slow turtle standing sort of slow position changes because you get that first dose effect where, you know, you may have a little bit of syncope on rising, so you tell them to raise up real slow.

The next medication type after ACE inhibitors, if you had an ACE inhibitor and you needed to switch, you're going to get switched to an ARB or an Angiotensin Receptor Blocker or Angiotensin II Receptor Blocker. Why we call them ARB. It's such a mouthful, so many words. So ARBs are another type of medication and you need to remember those by ending, by what drug in. Well, -sartan; losartan, candesartan, valsartan, olmesartan or whatever other sartans they make. There's too many. They're going to make some new sartans tomorrow and you're just going to have to remember that one too, right?

Now, you're going to be able to just remember the drug ending. I don't know of any other sartans that aren't angiotensin receptor blockers, so easy to remember. And you can remember this with his crazy image here of our angel-tennis receptor blocker here, Angel-tennis or Angel Tutu wearing receptor. I got my mouth is so tongue tied today, but angel, this angel playing tennis with her little receptor blocks and she's wearing a tutu, so, for an angiotensin II receptor blocker. But most importantly you can remember this little Spartan character that he's playing, but to help you remember -sartans. And that's what's really going to help you. So you can remember those endings.

Now, when I say angiotensin receptor blockers or ARBs, what's the thing you need to worry about that side effect on the tip of your tongue? Well, the first one, the big one we see a lot is really just remembering angioedema. So, is angioedema possible with ACE inhibitors? Yes, but very possible with angiotensin receptor blockers. And here we've got our little angel-edamame with lips. See the edamame little thing right there, just so cute.

Why are we doing that? Well, because that's what usually where you see angioedema, you usually see it in the lips. It's usually swelling in the lips and you ended up. That's right. You're not going to forget that, right? I know. Oh yeah, I know. I just play it back and watch it again and again and I don't mind.

Anyway, that's what you worry about angioedema, that swelling and, you know, the dilation that face and medical emergency for sure. Of course, other things, we worry about a lot of these types of medications cause. We don't want to use them in pregnancy or they're cautioned in pregnancy for sure, definitely a second line medication or a renal artery stenosis here. We got a little angel or sorry, our little stone kidney. That's our character for renal artery stenosis.

Now, the next medication type I want to talk about, another type or class of medications are Calcium Channel Blockers. I love calcium channel blockers because I just love this cute little cow. But anyway, calcium channel blockers, there's several different types when I talk about those in a sec. But calcium channel blockers, as far as an antihypertensive, you need to remember are the -dipines. Nifedipine, felodipine, nifedipine, that's right. You need to remember those right there.

Now with those, you can remember -dipines calcium channel blockers, and you could remember that those, this little cow character, right? Our calcium calcified cow with these little blocks, and of course they're dipping their little chips. So -dipines, you can help remember.

So, the big thing to know with these is that when you talk about calcium channel blockers, especially if you're super smart, you would say, "Oh, that's not the only type of calcium channel blocker." And I'd say, "Oh, well, that means you're right, you're so smart. Ooh!"

So there are three different classes of calcium channel blockers. There's the ones for hypertension, which are the -dipines, the dihydropyridines. You don't need to know that dihydropyridines so much, but they're just the dipines.

The other ones are the phenylalkylamines. The phenylalkylamines are verapamil. That's another one you've probably heard of, and the benzothiazepine, which is diltiazem.

Now, why do we use, why is there three different classes? Well, the easiest way to remember is that the dipines are for hypertension and that those are definitely bays of selective, whereas verapamil and diltiazem are cardioselective or cardioselective and bays of, you know, they work on cardiac and on the vessels, but mostly cardio selective. So they're going to work on the heart.

So why do we use diltiazem? Oh, I just don't know. I just can't remember. I just, I've got this Dill-taser and this V-rapper in this image. I just don't know why we use it. Well, that's why we have big marnix to help you remember everything. Diltiazem is a cardioselective calcium channel blocker. We block calcium channels. We stop excitability. We slow it down. We calm it down, calm down, calcium. You don't need to get so excited, getting all those channels excited. so, we usually see diltiazem used in atrial fibrillation for rate control.

Verapamil we see often and sometimes used in the same type of way. And of course the dihydropyridines, the dipines we use for blood pressure. I just get tongue tied today, probably because I'm talking so fast, but luckily, you can just play it over again.

Anyway, here's our calcium channel blockers with Picmonic. So we've got our dill-taser and our V-rapper up here at the top with this calcified cows blocked. Now, when I say amlodipine, nifedipine, and I talk about one of those calcium channel blockers, what's the number one side effect you should be looking for? Especially, no matter what level you're at, you should be looking for this common side effect. And what is it? Oh my goodness. I don't know.

Hypotension? No, that's not the one I'm going to be trying to give you. That's, you know, that's the easy answer. If I'm giving you a medication for blood pressure, obviously side effect is low blood pressure. Duh, right? That's not the one you're going to get. You're usually going to get peripheral edema. We see it all the time, peripheral edema. If you're on a calcium channel blocker for hypertension and you end up with this constant peripheral edema or edema in the legs, it's probably because of the calcium channel blocker. Super common, you see it all the time.

Now, the other one that we see, that really when we use diltiazem or especially verapamil; Verapamil by itself usually causes what? Verapamil, we see it causes constipation. That's another side effect. We've got the little cork con toilet here inside of our image, and Gingival hyperplasia. The only other time you see gingival hyperplasia, you should be thinking about seizure type medications. And that's right. But of course, any type of calcium channel blocker can slow the heart rate down, but you know, you want to worry about with those dihydropyridines. You want to worry about that peripheral edema because that's really common.

Now the next thing I want to talk about our Loop Diuretics. Now I'm not going to talk about all the types of diuretics because we've got that literally in a hole in our Renal webinar. There's a whole, we go through every single one them. But we're just going to talk about loop diuretics first.

Now, loop diuretics. Loop diuretics are fun, because we've got our die-rocket spewing out urine or yellow fluid if you don't want to say the word "urine" out loud. If it makes you nervous or, you know, you just say poop or something, and then you freak out. Maybe you go to a naughty place or a bad place in your mind. You're just in the fetal position crying.

But anyway, loop diuretics. Here, we've got our loop in. Now, what's important now, really this is kind of a stretch for us on the ending because it's not really a drug ending for all loop diuretics, but it just want to talk the few ones you're going to get, so you're going to –semide, S-E-M-I-D-E. And that's where you've got furosemide and torsemide. And I've got these other two here in red because they're different, but furosemide or lasix, don't use that trade name. Always remember the, you know, the generic name, always remember that's really important.

So we've got our loop die-rocket hand on this, you know, the semi-truck spewing out urine. And why is it spewing out so much urine? Because loops are very powerful diuretics. Now, just really quick, ethacrynic acid, that's such a weird one. Well, let's just talk about why you need to remember the different one. Like why is ethacrynic acid, why is it different? Because it's spelled differently? Because it's two words? I mean, I don't know.

Well, the reason is because ethacrynic acid is literally a loop diuretic, but it's the weird one. Remember the weird name and it has a weird name for the reason, in my opinion, and I remember that as a weird name because it doesn't have so, you can give it to prison with sulfa allergy. There's no sulfa allergy interaction, whereas loop diuretics, you can't give to a patient who has a sulfa allergy. Really common question we see.

So here's our Loop Diuretic Picmonics. Now, I'm going to go through each of the details, but there's a couple of really important points when we talk about giving loop diuretics. The first off or that, when we give any diuretic, it basically makes you pee a lot, right? I mean you're urinating more, and when you're urinating more, you're losing more things now.

I always love "loops lose everything". And when I say "loops lose everything", I mean, you're peeing out all those electrolytes, your peeing out everything. And what's that little volatile scaredy electrolyte that just gets so scared and it's all out of whack every single time. Which one is it? Oh, scaredy electrolyte. I don't know. Potassium. And I was just like, you remember potassium, potassiums in bananas. Banana goes so bad. So quick. You know weirdo that doesn't like to eat a brown banana. Actually I do. It's Marley. She works here at Picmonic with me and she loves brown bananas. What a freak. Who wants to eat brown bananas? Oh, you can send them here to the Picmonic office and Marley will eat them if you get some brown bananas, fine.

Anyway, with that, little volatile electrolyte and with that, you see you pee out extra potassium and we see it with loops. But loops lose everything. Remember that, loops lose everything. So you're going to pee out potassium first. It's going to be the first one you're going to pee out because it's just scaredy electrolyte. Then you're going to see loops losing calcium. That's really, really important. Loops lose calcium. So loops lose calcium. Why do I tell you that? Well, it pees out everything because I'm going to talk about the difference in a second.

Now, with loop diuretics, if you've given them for a long period of time or a high dose IV, what do we worry about? What's a thing when we're watching Permanent, you know, we're going to be watching for and it's looking for out there, like what's going on? I don't know. Why we're going to be watching for ototoxicity. I pull my shirt down. I'm sorry. Ototoxicity. Ototoxicity. Ototoxicity means toxic ears? Yes. We've got our toxic link green glow here inside of our Picmonic. But you're going to be worried about tinnitus or ringing in the ears. That's going to be that sign for a patient who's on potassium or I mean, sorry, a loop diuretic drip or getting a high dose IV.

So with all this, lots of things to go with loop diuretics. What's a big thing we're going to worry about next? What's the next type of diuretic we want to talk about? Well, that's going to be, thiazide diuretics. Now we're going to talk about thiazide diuretics at the second, but remember that thiazide diuretics are different because they don't lose calcium. That's why we remember if you remember that loops lose everything, loops lose calcium. So, you have hypocalcemia, whereas thiazide diuretic, no change.

So that's it for Part 1. We're really just moving straight onto Part 2. It's no different for me, but if you're switching videos, you need to switch over to Part 2. Make sure you subscribe to the channel. Make sure you click over to get to the next video. Just make sure you just show us some love.

That completes Part 1 of our prerecorded pharmacology webinar. In this first part, we learned about hypertension medications, beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers, calcium channel blockers, loop diuretics, loop diuretic education, sulfa allergies, potassium and calcium.

Check out the playlist of those 10 Picmonics in the summary below. Then click the link below to watch Part 2 at Picmonic.com with your free account where we learned about antibiotics. See you there.

Watch Pharmacology Made Easy – Antibiotics (Part 2) now:

In Part 2 of this series, antibiotics are taking the stage, and we’ll let you in on the commonly tested details that you’ll need to know. With your Picmonic Free account, you can keep up with the Picmonics talked about in this lecture, and continue to use Picmonic for courses, class exams and the NCLEX®.

After watching part 2, make sure you review the playlist, which has the 9 Picmonics that you just learned about. Then, use the Quiz feature to test and solidify your knowledge!

Watch Pharmacology Made Easy – Psych and More (Part 3) now:

The finale of our three-part series on Pharmacology Made Easy, where we focus on psychiatric medications, as well as other miscellaneous meds that you’ll need to know in your nursing career. 

Part 3 of this Pharmacology webinar is available on the webinars page or in the resources portal of our app for all Premium members. 


After watching part 3, make sure you review the playlist, which has the 9 Picmonics that you just learned about. Then, use the Quiz feature to test and solidify your knowledge!

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