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The following list is a compilation of the drugs that are most likely to appear on examinations. The brief descriptions should serve as a rapid review. The list can be used in 2 ways. First, cover the column of properties and test your ability to recall descriptive information about drugs picked at random from the left column; second, cover the left column and try to name a drug that fits the properties described. The numbers in parentheses at the end of each drug description denote relevant chapter.


Common abbreviations and acronyms: ACE, angiotensin converting enzyme; ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; ANS, autonomic nervous system; AV, atrioventricular; BP, blood pressure; CNS, central nervous system; COMT, catechol-O-methyl transferase; DMARD, disease-modifying antirheumatic drug; ENS, enteric nervous system; EPS, extrapyramidal system; GABA, γ-aminobutyric acid; GI, gastrointestinal; HF, heart failure; HR, heart rate; HTN, hypertension; LMW, low molecular weight; MAO, monoamine oxidase; MI, myocardial infarct; NSAID, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug; PANS, parasympathetic autonomic nervous system; RA, rheumatoid arthritis; SANS, sympathetic autonomic nervous system; TCA, tricyclic antidepressant; TNF, tumor necrosis factor; Tox, toxicity; WBCs, white blood cells.

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AbciximabMonoclonal antibody that inhibits the binding of platelet glycoprotein IIb/IIIa (GPIIb/IIIa) to fibrinogen. Used to prevent clotting after coronary angioplasty and in acute coronary syndrome. Eptifibatide and tirofiban are also GPIIb/IIIa inhibitors.
AcetaminophenAntipyretic analgesic: very weak cyclooxygenase inhibitor; not anti-inflammatory. Less GI distress than aspirin but dangerous in overdose. Tox: hepatic necrosis. Antidote:acetylcysteine.

Carbonic anhydrase-inhibiting diuretic acting in the proximal convoluted tubule: produces a NaHCO3diuresis, results in bicarbonate depletion and metabolic acidosis. Has self-limited diuretic but persistent bicarbonate-depleting action. Used in glaucoma and mountain sickness.

Tox:paresthesias, hepatic encephalopathy. Dorzolamide and brinzolamide are topical analogs for glaucoma.

AcetylcholineCholinomimetic prototype: transmitter in CNS, ENS, all ANS ganglia, parasympathetic postganglionic synapses, sympathetic postganglionic fibers to sweat glands, and skeletal muscle end plate synapses.
AcyclovirAntiviral: inhibits DNA synthesis in herpes simplex virus (HSV) and varicella-zoster virus (VZV). Requires activation by viral thymidine kinase (TK strains are resistant). Tox: behavioral effects and nephrotoxicity (crystalluria) but minimal myelosuppression. Famciclovir, penciclovir, and valacyclovir are similar but with longer half-lives.
AdenosineAntiarrhythmic: miscellaneous group; parenteral only. Hyperpolarizes AV nodal tissue, blocks conduction for 10–15 s. Used for nodal reentry arrhythmias. Tox: hypotension, flushing, chest pain.
AlbuterolPrototypic rapid-acting β2 agonist; important use in acute asthma. Tox: tachycardia, arrhythmias, tremor. Other drugs with similar action: metaproterenol, terbutaline. Slow-acting analogs: formoterol, salmeterol; used for prophylaxis.
AlendronateBisphosphonate: chronic treatment with low doses increases bone mineral density and reduces fractures. Higher doses lower serum calcium. Used in osteoporosis and for the hypercalcemia in Paget's disease and malignancies. Tox: esophageal irritation at low oral doses. Renal dysfunction and osteonecrosis of the jaw in high doses. Other bisphosphonates include etidronate, pamidronate, risedronate, etc.
AllopurinolIrreversible inhibitor of xanthine oxidase; reduces production of uric acid. ...

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