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Basic Concepts in Pharmacology: What You Need to Know for Each Drug Class is not a conventional review book for pharmacology. It is a book to help you organize your attack on the hundreds of drugs covered in pharmacology classes today. Our survey for the first edition of this book made it clear that it is the number of drugs in a particular class that students find overwhelming. This fear causes many students to lose focus on the most important part of pharmacology—the concepts.

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Because this is not a review book, I will not be covering each and every drug currently available. Instead, I will try to provide a way to organize and condense the amount of material that needs to be memorized. In addition, certain concepts and definitions will be explained. Along the way we will need to review some biochemistry and physiology, reinforcing previously learned concepts.

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This book is organized so that the reader can read the highlights and decide whether or not to read the more detailed description. Information in the boxes is key. If you know the information in the box, skip to the next one. If you don’t know the information, read the text that follows it. This book is intended to help you organize your study and avoid any extra hours spent on less important trivia, so you should approach the book in the same way.

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Some drug names appear in capital letters. Although somewhat of an arbitrary choice, these drug names seem to be the most important to know. If you have time and energy to learn only three names in a particular drug class, learn the ones that appear in capital letters. Because students are expected to know only generic names of drugs, only generic names are used throughout this text. Trade names are given in the index.

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