Drawing Pharmacology Video 2 of 7

In this second video, I show how to visually represent drugs near each other and with mnemonics in the musculoskeletal system to make it easier to remember. Nurses Announcements Archive Video Knowledge


  • Pharmacology / Chemistry / Educator
    Specializes in Pharmacology.
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Drawing Pharmacology Video 2 of 7

While memorizing gets a bad name in education now, there are a number of reasons it's useful, the most important of which is chunking. At some point we know our credit card number by heart, in four blocks of four numbers. So instead of that taking up 16 spaces in our memory, it might take only four. In class, as we memorize the foundational material, there is now room for us to work with the new material in our working memory.

In pharmacology, for example, a person might take up a lot of working memory when first working with a drug name like infliximab (Remicade) for rheumatoid arthritis. But as we work more with it, we move from thinking of it as separate letters I-n-f-l-I-x-I-m-a-b to a word, to maybe an image of the dosage as we provide care to the patient.

Let's also look at why some think we don't need to memorize. First, we can Google most information that we might need so the content out of context is available. However, what do we do if we get three different links for our answer, two say one way is correct, one says a different way is correct. Let's say that the two are from personal blogs and the one is from the National Institutes of Health. Which do we believe? So while the information is available, the veracity or context of that information may not be.

This next video goes over musculoskeletal medications and their therapeutic pearls. You'll find that the same memorization strategies used in the video for chapter one are also used here. We use acronyms to remember the first letter of multiple drug names and illustrations to organize the related musculoskeletal conditions. In this video, I start from a plain whiteboard to show you that it's okay to do it from memory and make a few mistakes along the way. My Advanced Practice Pharmacy student is here helping me with the video. In later videos, we will zoom in on the contents in response to feedback from YouTube comments.

In this video, the drug classes I go over are:

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

There are quite a few NSAIDs available both over the counter and through a prescription. To help us remember them all, we use the acronym "PAIN CAVE" as a guide. NSAIDs can be used for a variety of conditions and symptoms, including pain, inflammation, headaches, and osteoarthritis.


Just like NSAIDS, there are many opioids available, however this class of medication is only available as a prescription. Because of their addictive properties, opioids are controlled medications. To help remember them all, we classify opioids by their DEA schedule (C-I, C-II, C-III, C-IV, or C-V). Note that not all opioids are for pain; opioid antagonists and partial agonists can be used to treat opioid dependence.


For the next 5 medication classes and their corresponding conditions, we draw a stick figure, our pain cave skeleton, and list his conditions from head to toe. The first drug class is called the triptans and they are used for migraines. The individual medications in this class all contain the stem -triptan, making them easy to identify.

Medications for rheumatoid arthritis

Some medications used to treat rheumatoid arthritis are DMARDs, or disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs. There are a few biologic drugs in this category. Biologics can be very effective against auto-immune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Medications for osteoporosis

The most common drugs used for osteoporosis, bisphosphonates, all have use the stem -dronate. Bisphosphonates inhibit the type of cell that's responsible for breaking down bone tissue.

Medications for muscle spasms

There are multiple drugs used for muscle spasms. They don't share a common drug class, so it's a bit more difficult to memorize them all, but I show some techniques to get a few down.

Medications for gout

The last condition this poor stick figure has is gout. Gout commonly affects the big toe, hence why it's the last of our list of conditions from head to toe. Medications for gout either reduce inflammation, reduce the amount of uric acid produced, or increase the excretion of uric acid into the urine.

Stay tuned for the next Drawing Pharmacology Video on Respiratory Pharmacology soon!

Pharmacology / Chemistry / Educator

I have taught pharmacology for almost 10 years in Ankeny, Iowa.

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