Trospium Pharmacology

On this episode I discuss trospium pharmacology, adverse effects, and important drug interactions you should know.

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Propranolol Pharmacology

On this episode, I discuss propranolol pharmacology, adverse reactions, and important drug interactions you should know.

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Quetiapine Pharmacology

On this episode, I discuss quetiapine pharmacology, adverse effects, pharmacokinetics, and drug interactions.

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Phenazopyridine Pharmacology

On this episode, I discuss phenazopyridine pharmacology, adverse effects, and potential drug interactions.

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Fluvoxamine Pharmacology

On this episode, I discuss fluvoxamine pharmacology, adverse effects, and most importantly, drug interactions.

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Oxybutynin Pharmacology

On this episode, I discuss oxybutynin pharmacology, drug interactions, and adverse effects.

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Zaleplon Pharmacology

On this episode, I discuss the pharmacology of zaleplon including side effects, drug interactions, and important clinical pearls.

Zaleplon is a non-benzodiazepine sleep aide commonly known as Sonata. It is commonly used for sedation and the management of insomnia. Zaleplon is a controlled medication, with a high risk for dependence, and because of that, it is best used to treat short-term insomnia. The pharmacology of zaleplon is similar to other sleep aids like Ambien, and Lunesta; they all have an impact on GABA. Specifically, zaleplon regulates the GABABZ receptor. The GABABZ receptor has been shown to be responsible for the pharmacological properties of benzodiazepines which produce sedative, anxiolytic, relaxant, and anticonvulsive effects. For pharmacokinetics, zaleplon has a general onset of action around 30-60 minutes, because of that it is best dosed closer to bedtime. 

For sedatives, and other drugs similar to zaleplon, it is generally better to start at lower doses in geriatrics and smaller patients. The commonly accepted dosing is between 5-20 mg, but it is best to use non-pharmacological therapies, instead of pharmacological whenever possible. The most common side effect that may be experienced with zaleplon is next-day sedation, also known as hangover sedation. Loss of mental clarity, dizziness, and confusion may also be present. Serious side effects of taking zaleplon are abnormal sleep behaviors, which it carries a US boxed warning for, and risk of dependence. Zaleplon is also on Beer’s list because of the increased risk of falls, delirium, and increased complications while driving due to sedation and lethargy. 

When a sedative is first prescribed, it’s important to first look at the other medications a patient may be taking to see if that’s what may be causing insomnia. For example, a diuretic administered at night can cause excessive urination that can lead to insomnia. The addition of stimulants too late in the day can also cause that, and similarly, lifestyle changes like increased intake of caffeine can increase the risk for insomnia as well. 

Most of the drug-drug interactions that zaleplon has are due to additive depressive effects. Examples include alcohol, opioids, older antihistamines, trazodone, or any medication that can cause sedation. There is also a smaller risk for CYP3A4 interaction. Concurrent administration of an inducer, like St. John’s Wort, or carbamazepine, can lower the concentrations of zaleplon. Likewise, inhibitors may increase concentrations.

In cases of overdose, the signs and symptoms that will most likely precipitate are exaggerations of zaleplon’s adverse effects. The manifestations of CNS depression can range from drowsiness to coma. More mild cases might have drowsiness, confusion, and lethargy; while more serious cases may have ataxia, hypotonia, hypotension, respiratory depression, coma, and death. To treat a zaleplon overdose, symptomatic and supportive measures are necessary along with gastric lavage. Animal studies suggest that flumazenil is an antidote as an antagonist to zaleplon, but there is no human data. With proper treatment, recoveries have been made with overdoses greater than 200 mg. In instances where the outcome was fatal, it was most often associated with the use of additional CNS depressants.

Show notes provided by Chong Yol G Kim, PharmD Student.

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Resources

Paragraph 1: taken from podcast, also taken from https://go.drugbank.com/drugs/DB00962#pharmacodynamics

Paragraph 2: taken from podcast

Paragraph 3: taken from podcast

Paragraph 4: taken from podcast

Paragraph 5: taken from FDA label

Hydrochlorothiazide Pharmacology

On this episode, I breakdown the pharmacology of hydrochlorothiazide including adverse effects, drug interactions, and other clinical pearls.

Hydrochlorothiazide has common brand names of Microzide, Hydrodiuril, and its common abbreviation is HCTZ. Extra caution should be taken with “HCTZ”; it may be mistaken for other abbreviations. Hydrochlorothiazide works pharmacologically by blocking the reabsorption of sodium in the distal tubule of the kidney. The result of the pharmacology of hydrochlorothiazide is increased water, sodium, and potassium excretion. Due to hydrochlorothiazide’s mechanism of action, it makes it advantageous when used for blood pressure, edema, and heart failure in addition to loop diuretics.

Hydrochlorothiazide’s adverse reactions are due to its pharmacology. Frequent urination should occur so, dosing hydrochlorothiazide at night should be avoided. Loss of electrolytes should also happen, and the risk for hypokalemia, hyponatremia, and hypomagnesemia increases. Other adverse reactions include the increased risk of dehydration, increased uric acid concentrations, and hypercalcemia. The risk for hypercalcemia is not as concerning in lower doses. There is a potential for a sulfonamide allergy. If the patient has had an anaphylactic reaction with a sulfonamide-containing medication, hydrochlorothiazide may want to be avoided, or at least a risk/benefit assessment should be done. Another potential adverse reaction is an increase in blood sugar, but that is not typically concerning at lower doses. Electrolytes, as well as creatinine clearance, should be monitored to make sure kidney function, and electrolyte levels remain stable. 

Drug-drug interactions that can occur with hydrochlorothiazide are additive effects that may happen when taken with other medications. The risk for an unsafe drop in blood pressure may increase if it is taken with PDE inhibitors, Sinemet, or SGLT2 inhibitors. Hydrochlorothiazide should be avoided with Lithium, the risk for toxicity increases when the two are taken concurrently due to Lithium concentrations being increased. The risk of an AKI increases if it’s taken with NSAIDs, ACE inhibitors, or ARBs; increased monitoring is warranted. Topiramate may increase the risk for hypokalemia, while vitamin D and calcium supplements may increase the risk for hypercalcemia. Hyponatremia may be more likely to occur if it’s taken with SSRIs, carbamazepine, or oxcarbazepine. Hydrochlorothiazide may blunt the effect of allopurinol if it’s used for gout. Since blood sugar levels may be increased, hyperglycemia can occur, but it’s typically not clinically significant. 

In cases of intolerability, or overdoses, the manifestations are extensions of hydrochlorothiazide’s adverse effect profile. Most commonly, electrolyte depletion and dehydration will occur.

Show notes provided by Chong Yol G Kim, PharmD Student.

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Torsemide Pharmacology

On this episode, I discuss torsemide pharmacology, adverse effects, drug interactions and pharmacokinetics. Torsemide is commonly known as Demadex. It is a loop diuretic, and like other loop diuretics, it acts by inhibiting the reabsorption of Na+ and Cl- in the ascending loop of Henle. What results is a decrease in the reabsorption of water, causing a loss of electrolytes as well as water. The pharmacology of torsemide makes it useful in cases of heart failure, cirrhosis, or hypertension. Torsemide, and other loop diuretics, can also be a part of the prescribing cascade. For example, pregabalin and gabapentin, along with amlodipine and pioglitazone can cause or worsen edema, resulting in a new prescription of torsemide. 

Torsemide is typically initially dosed between 5-20 mg, depending on the use. If the indication isn’t very severe it might be dosed lower, between 5-10 mg, or higher if it’s a more severe indication starting at 20 mg and titrated up. It should be cautioned in patients with a history of dehydration and renal failure, and it is contraindicated in cases of anuria, hepatic coma, and hypersensitivity. It may sometimes be necessary to be converted to furosemide or bumetanide, or torsemide from the other two. The conversion is, 20 mg of torsemide is equivalent to 40 mg of oral furosemide, which is equivalent to 1 mg bumetanide. 

The adverse effects go hand-in-hand with its pharmacology, these include dehydration, increased urination, increased risk of acute renal failure, electrolyte imbalances, and ototoxicity. Also related to the pharmacology of torsemide, electrolytes, renal function, as well as blood pressure should be monitored. Kinetics may vary depending on what loop diuretic it is. It is generally more consistent with furosemide, but torsemide can sometimes have less variability as well as a longer half-life in comparison.

For drug-drug interactions, additive effects are the main concern. When combined with Sinemet or PDE inhibitors, there may be an unsafe drop in blood pressure. If it’s combined with SGLT2 inhibitors there can be increased diuresis. There can also be an increased risk of renal issues when taken with an NSAID, ACE inhibitors, or ARBs; if an NSAID is necessary, the dose or duration should be limited, and the kidney function should be monitored. The risk for ototoxicity increases when taken with aminoglycosides, and drugs that can cause edema should be monitored.

The main signs and symptoms of intolerance, or overdose, are extensions of its adverse effects and are related to its pharmacology. Commonly, it will be dehydration, hypotension, or symptoms of either. When treating overdoses, symptomatic relief is necessary; it is commonly achieved by fluid and electrolyte replacement.

Show notes provided by Chong Yol G Kim, PharmD Student.

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