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This book is designed to help students review pharmacology and to prepare for both regular course examinations and board examinations. The thirteenth edition has been revised to make such preparation as active and efficient as possible. As with earlier editions, rigorous standards of accuracy and currency have been maintained in keeping with the book’s status as the companion to the Basic & Clinical Pharmacology textbook. This review book divides pharmacology into the topics used in most courses and textbooks. Major introductory chapters (eg, autonomic pharmacology and CNS pharmacology) are included for integration with relevant physiology and biochemistry. The chapter-based approach facilitates use of this book in conjunction with course notes or a larger text. We recommend several strategies to make reviewing more effective (Appendix I contains a summary of learning and test-taking strategies that most students find useful).

First, each chapter has a short discussion of the major concepts that underlie its basic principles or the specific drug group, accompanied by explanatory figures and tables. Students are advised to read the text thoroughly before they attempt to answer the study questions at the end of each chapter. If a concept is found to be difficult or confusing, the student is advised to consult a regular textbook such as Basic & Clinical Pharmacology, 15th edition.

Second, each drug-oriented chapter opens with an Overview that organizes the group of drugs visually in diagrammatic form. We recommend that students practice reproducing the overview diagram from memory.

Third, a list of High-Yield Terms to Learn and their definitions is near the front of most chapters. Make sure that you are able to define those terms.

Fourth, many chapters include a Skill Keeper question that prompts the student to review previous material and to see links between related topics. We suggest that students try to answer Skill Keeper questions on their own before checking the answers that are provided at the end of the chapter.

Fifth, each of the sixty-two chapters contains up to ten sample questions followed by a set of answers with explanations. For most effective learning, you should take each set of sample questions as if it were a real examination. After you have answered every question, work through the answers. When you are analyzing the answers, make sure that you understand why each choice is either correct or incorrect.

Sixth, each chapter includes a Checklist of focused tasks that you should be able to do once you have finished the chapter.

Seventh, most chapters end with a Summary Table that lists the most important drugs and includes key information concerning their mechanisms of action, effects, clinical uses, pharmacokinetics, drug interactions, and toxicities.

Eighth, when preparing for a comprehensive examination, you should review the strategies described in Appendix I if you have not already done so. Then review the list of drugs in Appendix II: Key Words for Key Drugs. Students are also advised to check this appendix as they work through the chapters so they can begin to identify drugs out of the context of a chapter that reviews a restricted set of drugs.

Ninth, after you have worked your way through most or all of the chapters and have a good grasp of the Key Drugs, you should take the comprehensive examinations, each of 100 questions, presented in Appendices III and IV. These examinations are followed by a list of answers, each with a short explanation or rationale underlying the correct choice and the numbers of the chapters in which more information can be found if needed. We recommend that you take an entire examination or a block of questions as if it were a real examination: commit to answers for the whole set before you check the answers. As you work through the answers, make sure that you understand why each answer is either correct or incorrect. If you need to, return to the relevant chapters(s) to review the text that covers key concepts and facts that form the basis for the question.

We recommend that this book be used with a regular text. Basic & Clinical Pharmacology, 15th edition (McGraw-Hill, 2020), follows the chapter sequence used here. However, this review book is designed to complement any standard medical pharmacology text. The student who completes and understands Pharmacology: Examination & Board Review will greatly improve their performance and will have an excellent command of pharmacology.

Because it was developed in parallel with the textbook Basic & Clinical Pharmacology, this review book represents the authors’ interpretations of chapters written by contributors to that text. We are grateful to those contributors, to our other faculty colleagues, and to our students, who have taught us most of what we know about teaching.

We very much appreciate the invaluable contributions to this text afforded by the editorial team of Christie Naglieri and Michael Weitz. The authors also thank Katharine Katzung for her excellent copyediting and proofreading contributions to this edition.

Bertram G. Katzung, MD, PhD
Marieke Kruidering-Hall, PhD
Rupa Lalchandani Tuan, PhD
Todd W. Vanderah, PhD
Anthony J. Trevor, PhD

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