Rifampin Pharmacology

Rifampin is classified as an antibiotic and an antituberculosis agent. It primarily works by inhibiting bacterial RNA polymerase.

While not extremely common, rifampin is well known to cause hepatic dysfunction.

You should remind patients who are taking rifampin that it can alter the color of tears, sweat, saliva and urine. It can change these fluids to a reddish/brown color.

Rifampin is very well known for causing drug interactions. It is an enzyme inducer that can reduce the concentrations of numerous medications such as warfarin, apixaban, cyclosporin, levothyroxine, and oral contraceptives to name a few.

Rifampin can be used to help prevent meningococcal infection. Learn more on rifampin by listening to this podcast!

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Montelukast Pharmacology

Montelukast Pharmacology

On this episode, I discuss montelukast pharmacology

Montelukast is a leukotriene receptor antagonist. Leukotrienes play an important role in causing inflammation and smooth muscle contraction in asthma and allergic rhinitis.

Because montelukast blocks the effects of leukotrienes, it can be advantageous to use this medication for allergies and asthma.

It is important to remind patients that montelukast is NOT a substitute for an acute relief medication like albuterol in the management of asthma symptoms.

Montelukast has been reported to cause mood and behavioral changes and it is important to monitor our patients for these rare concerns.

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Carbamazepine Pharmacology

Carbamazapine Pharmacology

On this episode, I discuss carbamazepine pharmacology. This drug is most commonly used for seizures, bipolar disorder, or trigeminal neuralgia.

Carbamazepine is an autoinducer and can reduce the concentrations of numerous drugs. Some examples include apixaban, warfarin, rivaroxaban, diltiazem, verapamil, and many more!

Carbamazepine has the potential to cause Steven Johnson’s Syndrome. This has a much greater chance of happening in patients with certain genetics.

Carbamazepine can contribute to SIADH and cause significant hyponatremia.

Carbamazepine has boxed warning for numerous potential events like aplastic anemia, agranulocytosis, and the above-mentioned SJS.

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Pioglitazone Pharmacology

pioglitazone pharmacology

On this episode, I cover pioglitazone pharmacology. The primary mechanism of action with pioglitazone is that it is an agonist at Peroxisome Proliferator Activated Receptor Gamma receptor. This improves insulin sensitivty in the periphery.

Two common side effects exist with pioglitazone. This drug can cause weight gain and also contribute to edema.

Pioglitazone has a boxed warning and is contraindicated in patients who have symptomatic heart failure.

There are a few potential interactions with pioglitazone. Trimethoprim and gemfibrozil can inhibit the breakdown of pioglitazone.

A couple of advantages of pioglitazone include that it is generic (inexpensive) and that it is dosed once daily.

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Hydralazine Pharmacology

Hydralazine Pharmacology

Hydralazine Pharmacology

Hydralazine works as a direct vasodilator. It primarily works on the arterioles versus the venous system.

Hydralazine can cause a unique adverse reaction. It can cause a Lupus type syndrome that can result in fever, myopathy and symptoms that mimic arthritis.

I discuss drug interactions with hydralazine and how you need to be aware of certain medications that can have additive effects and also those that can oppose the effects of the drug.

One of the downsides to using hydralazine is that patients don’t like to take it as often as it requires. It is typically dosed three to four times per day.

Orthostasis is a risk with any drug that reduces blood pressure and hydralazine is no different.

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Memantine Pharmacology

Memantine is classified as an NMDA receptor antagonist. Memantine pharmacology is complex as is the pharmacology of any medication working in the brain. This drug can help reduce the activity of glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter which can play a role in Alzheimer’s dementia.

Memantine has an extended release dosage form that is dosed once per day compared to twice per day for the immediate release. However, the cost of the extended release is much more expensive, so it is recommended to begin with the immediate release.

Memantine is cleared by the kidney. In patients with reduced kidney function, you must review to assess if the memantine dose needs to be adjusted.

When using memantine or other dementia medications, be sure to look out for medications that can cause dementia type symptoms. CNS depressants like benzodiazepines, sleep medicines, and anticholinergics are all examples of meds that could exacerbate dementia.

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GLP-1 Agonist Pharmacology

The GLP-1’s are a relatively newer class of medications used to lower blood sugars in diabetes.

GLP-1’s work by simulating the effects of incretin hormones in the body. They can help promote fullness, lower weight, and stimulate insulin release following a meal.

GLP-1’s can cause significant GI side effects. Nausea is by far the most common adverse effect. It can even lead to diarrhea and vomiting in some cases.

There is boxed warning on the GLP-1 agonists. Be aware of patients who have had a history of thyroid cancer as this may be a contraindication.

GLP-1 agonists can help lower A1C and stimulate weight loss which is a huge benefit for most patients with Type 2 diabetes.

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Iron Supplement Pharmacology

Iron supplements frequently cause GI upset. Monitor patients for nausea, vomiting, and constipation issues.

There are three main salt forms of iron. Ferrous fumurate has the most elemental iron, ferrous sulfate (2nd most), and ferrous gluconate has the least.

Iron can bind up antibiotics and reduce their effectiveness. Two classic examples include the quinolone and tetracycline antibiotics.

Anemia can be caused by numerous concerns, however, iron deficiency is a very common cause.

Ferritin is a lab that we commonly monitor in a patient who may be iron deficient. Iron deficiency can also lead to symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome.

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Loop Diuretics Pharmacology

On this episode, I cover common loop diuretics. They include furosemide, torsemide, and bumetanide.

Loop diuretics are potent agents that can help in the management of heart failure and ascites.

Loops diuretics help promote the loss of excessive fluid through the urine.

A common patient complaint from loop diuretics is that they can cause frequent urination. Because of this, we typically dose these drugs earlier in the day.

Kidney function and electrolyte monitoring is critical with the use of loop diuretics.

Enjoy the episode!

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Methotrexate Pharmacology

On this episode of the Real Life Pharmacology Podcast, I cover the pharmacology of methotrexate.

Methotrexate has a few different indications. It can be used for treatment of cancer. These doses are typically going to be much higher than standard low doses for other conditions.

Lower dose methotrexate is often used for autoimmune type conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis.

Folic acid should be supplemented with use of methotrexate to help reduce the risk of adverse effects.

Liver toxicity and immune system suppression are two important factors to monitor in a patient taking chronic methotrexate.

I also talk about important cumulative drug interactions with methotrexate such as immunosuppressives and other agents that may impact liver function.

Be sure to listen to the end as I talk about the potential impact of methotrexate on some vaccines!

Be sure to check out our free Top 200 study guide – a 31 page PDF that is yours for FREE!