Tips and Tricks to Remember Drug Names for your PTCB Exam

TIPS AND TRICKS TO REMEMBER DRUG NAMES

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Are you struggling to remember drug names and their actions? Are you concerned about remembering drug names? Are you wondering what tricks you can use to memorize drug names easily? In this article, you will find many tips and tricks that will help you effortlessly remember drug names and their actions.

EASY WAYS TO REMEMBER DRUG NAMES AND THEIR EFFECTS

Tips and tricks to remember drug names

If you are someone who deals with lots of drug names and their mechanism of action on the human body, it is important to remember them correctly. It might be difficult to memorize drug names and their actions as they are. So here are some tips and tricks that will help you remember the mechanism of action and the drug names with a little effort from your side.

USE A DRY ERASE BOARD/FLASHCARDS/NOTECARDS

FLASHCARDS

You can use flashcards to help yourself memorize drug names and their effects on the human body. You will have to write the drug name on one side and information on indications and actions on the other side.

DRY ERASE BOARD

You can use writing practice on a dry erase board to memorize the drug names and their actions.

NOTECARDS

You can use notecards by placing the drugs together per their class to help you simultaneously memorize drugs of the same class

CROSSWORD PUZZLES

You can frame crossword puzzles with information based on:

  • Drug names. 
  • Symptoms.
  • Indications.
  • side effects.
  • Mechanism of actions. 

ACRONYM FOR DRUG NAMES

Creating acronyms for drugs by associating them to letters or a word that possibly relates to the indication or action in the human body is another easy way of remembering drug names.

For example, to remember Atypical Antipsychotics that cause weight gain, find a word related to weight gain. If we take “crock” (short form of crockpot) and replace the ‘k’ with ‘q’ and remember it as,

C – Clozapine.

R – Risperidone.

O – Olanzapine.

Q – Quetiapine.

STUDY CHART

Create a study chart in alphabetical order with the following details:

  • Drug name.
  • Generic names.
  • Dosages.
  • Indications.
  • Contraindications.
  • Mechanism of action. 
  • Drug type / class.
  • Diseases or conditions for which it is prescribed.

CONSTANT QUIZZING WITH STUDY BUDDY

Getting a study buddy to help you with memorizing drugs is another interesting way of remembering drug names without getting bored or deviating. Ask your buddy to list a few conditions or diseases and you can name the drug that is used to treat the condition or the disease.

JINGLE OR RHYME

Making up a rhyme or a jingle with drug names, indications, contraindications, actions, and effects on the human body, class, condition, or disease it is prescribed for helps you effortlessly memorize drug names and details related to it.

For example,  Silver sulfadiazine is a topical antibiotic used to treat burns from getting infected. So, ‘Silver Sulfadiazine kills those germs and keeps burns clean.  

PRACTICE 

Drug names can never get familiar without having enough writing practice. Working on practicing pronunciation of drug names is something very important to help you remember drug names. Practice writing and pronouncing drug names until you can do it fluently.  

TOUCH THE MEDICINES

Going through the medicine box by handling drugs individually helps a lot with memorizing drug names. When you go through the drugs, make sure to look into details, such as side effects, when to prescribe, dosage, actions, and other effects on the human body, indications, and contraindications. This will give you a hands-on approach to drugs and drug names

USE WORD ASSOCIATION

Getting creative with memorizing drug names with words or phrases can help you in familiarizing yourself with drug names and their actions. Makeup sentences based on the drug names with details, such as dosage, indications, class, or actions.

For example, Prazosin ends with ‘sin’. It belongs to the class of medications called ‘alpha blockers’. So trying to remember it as God = Alpha. The opposite of God is ‘sin’.

USE ALLITERATION

Using alliterations for drug names and details related to the drug helps to easily remember drug names. You can also memorize drugs that sound alike and look alike together to make your memorizing process easy and efficient. 

CLASSIFICATION OF DRUGS

Classifying drugs based on type/class and indication helps the learning part easily. Drugs of the same class tend to have the same indications and contraindications. Break down the drugs by indication first, then by class. Learning Physiology inside out helps in understanding the normal functions of the human body. Learning drugs per their class and effects help in efficiently memorizing drug names.  

USE BOOKS AND APPS AS GUIDES

Using an app or a book as a guide to learn one or two pages a day can help you memorize drug names. Initially, start by memorizing the drugs that are most commonly used.

Apps, such as LexiComp, Epocrates, IPharmacy.

TEST YOURSELF FREQUENTLY

Try to recall 10 to 20 drug names and their actions on a piece of paper, then check if you have done it correctly. Do it again until you fully familiarize yourself with the drug names and their actions and effects.

GROUP DRUG NAMES

Grouping drug names with the same ending names is another trick to remembering drug names. It’s easy to memorize names when categorized this way.

For example, Amlodipine – Ending with ‘pine’. Drugs ending with ‘pine’ are calcium channel blockers.

Amoxicillin, Ampicillin, Penicillin – ending with ‘cillin’. Drugs ending with ‘cillin’ are used as antibiotics to treat bacterial infections

RECALL

There are 2 types of recall. Namely, Serial Recall and Free Recall.

  • Serial Recall – Group of items grouped in a specific order
  • Free Recall – Group of items grouped regardless of order.

Serial recall helps in memorizing a group of items grouped in a specific order. Without serial recall, memorizing might be difficult. Group medicines or drug names by pathophysiologic class in a specific order, then sort them in alphabetical order per the class of the drug.

Once the drugs are classified by the class they belong to, create an alphabetical order for the drugs, which makes memorizing even easier.

RELATE DRUG NAME WITH YOUR CIRCLE

Relating drug names and symptoms with people in your circle gives a better understanding. Ask your relatives about their condition or disease and the medications they have been prescribed. This will give you a better understanding of how drugs are prescribed and the drugs used for specific conditions.

USE MNEMONICS

Using Mnemonics to remember drug names is a common trick, followed by many people.

For example, Contraindicated drugs in Pregnancy:

SAFE Moms Take Really Good Care 

S– Sulfonamides.

A– Aminoglycoside.

F– Fluoroquinolones.

E– Erythromycin.

M– Metronidazole.

T– Tetracyclines.

R– Ribavirin.

G– Gresofelvin.

C– Chloramfinical.

WRAPPING UP

Find the tips and tricks that work the best for you. Even if one trick doesn’t work, keep trying the other ones until you find the one that works. Practice writing and pronouncing drug names until you are confident and familiar with the names and actions. 

You may also practice our PTCB Practice Test to become well versed as a Pharmacy Technician.