Hello everyone! I am a second semester nursing student taking an 8 week advanced pharmacology course. While I may be completely overwhelmed a little by all of it, I seem to be stuck on one subject in particular-adrenergic and cholinergic agonists and antagonists, beta blockers, alpha blockers, etc. I feel like if I could break it down simply, I may be able to build knowledge from that. I keep reading and reading, but am having difficulty thinking critically about it and applying it. My question is, when you were in nursing school or if you are taking or have taken this course, did you find any helpful supplemental material, videos, mnemonics, or anything that helped you remember and understand the material?
Jun 14, '13
by BostonFNP Moderator
The biggest tip I can give is to focus on learning the mechanisms and physiology rather than trying to memorize things with study aides. But I can give you some simple memory aides.
Adrenergic receptors are part of the sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for the fight or flight response. Remember that ADRENergic is like ADRENaline. If you stimulate or agonize these receptors you prepare the body for fight-flight. If you antagonize or block them you have the opposite effect.
Simple way to think of alpha receptors. Alpha is for Arteries. If you give an alpha-blocker/antagonist it calms the body down from a fight so the arteries dilate and BP drops. Also remember that you don't want to pee your pants when you fight!
A simple way to think of beta receptors. You have two lungs and one heart. Beta-2 goes with your two lungs. Beta-1 goes with your heart.
You can then rationalize the functions of the drug. If you agonize the beta-2 receptors in your lungs you get them ready to fight: the bronchioles dilate. If you antagonize beta-1 receptors in the heart you calm the heart down from flight and the heart rate slows down and your BP drops.
Apply the same method to the main receptor of the parasympathetic nervous system, the cholenergic receptor.
The most Important ones to remember in this group are the antagonists, the anticholenergics. Think of the effects of these by the old medical adage of "can't see, can't pee, can't spit, can't s**t".
Last edit by BostonFNP on Jun 14, '13