Reproductive System Medicines to Know for the PTCB Exam!Feb 23rd, 2023
Reproductive System Diseases
Pharmacy technicians routinely handle and dispense medicines that help patients with diseases that affect the reproductive system.
When we talk about the reproductive system, we mean those organs and systems responsible for the reproduction of the species. Men and women have different reproductive systems and different hormone profiles. Therefore, medicines dispensed vary considerably among the sexes.
To take one example: the prostate gland.
Only men have a prostate gland; a gland responsible for producing nourishing fluid that constitutes the majority of semen. The prostate gland also helps to regulate urine flow and plays a role in hormone production. However, with age the prostate gland tends to grow. As it does, the prostate gland presses against the urethra – making it more difficult for men to urinate. This is a condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia. 50% of men between 50-60 years develop BPH, and some 80% of patients over the age of 80 have the condition. Given the widespread prevalence of this condition, the medicines used to manage the condition are routinely dispensed by pharmacy technicians.
If we break down the etymology of the disease, we note that:
- benign refers to a non-cancerous condition.
- prostatic refers to a condition impacting the prostate gland.
- hyperplasia refers to an increase in the number of cells in an organ or tissue (the word derives from ancient Greek to mean “over + formation”).
There are many medicines used in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia, all of which we will review a little later. For now, though, it’s worth zooming out to consider the bigger picture with reproductive system medicines. BPH is, after all, just one condition that technicians are expected to have some understanding of.
Other conditions that impact reproductive medicine include:
- Erectile dysfunction – where men cannot develop nor sustain an erection.
- Pregnancy – and its control with oral contraceptives.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease – an infection that develops in the uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries, often after the contraction of an STD.
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) – such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis.
- Cancers – including cervical, breast, and prostate cancer.
- Menopause – and drugs that help to alleviate symptoms.
- Endometriosis – a condition in which cells similar to the uterine lining, or endometrium, grow outside the uterus.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) – a condition in which the ovaries produce an abnormal amount of male sex hormones (androgens), leading to irregular periods or infrequent periods (note that metformin is also used to treat PCOS).
Note that pharmacy technicians are not expected to learn all reproductive system pathology. Rather, technicians are expected to have an understanding of the major and common conditions, and the widely used medicines in the treatment of these conditions – such as those listed above.
Below we’ve put together a rapid revision review of reproductive system medicines – covering the major medicines you need to know for the PTCB exam (notes: we have bolded many of the suffixes of these drugs, as these suffixes can prove effective at remembering the drug class. Brand names for each drug is in italic).
Reproductive System Medicines
|Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia|
|5-alpha reductase inhibitors||Finasteride (Proscar)|
|Alpha blockers||Alfuzosin (Uroxatral)|
|Leuprolide (Eligard, Lupron)||Endometriosis|
|Goserelin (Zoladex)||Prostate cancer|
|PDE5 inhibitors||Tadalafil (Cialis)|
|Vasodilators||Alprostadil [PGE1] (Caverject)|
|Clomifene (Clomid)||A SERM used to treat infertility|
|Conjugated estrogens (Premarin)||Symptoms of the menopause|
|Medroxyprogesterone (Provera)||Irregular menstrual periods|
Abnormal uterine bleeding
|Phenazopyridine (AZO Pain Relief)||Analgesic for urinary symptoms|
Take Home Message
This rapid revision review has attempted to put reproductive pharmacology for the PTCB exam in full perspective.
We learned about the variety of common conditions that impact both the male and female reproductive systems. We also learned about the common medicines and active ingredients used to treat these conditions. For the PTCB exam, pharmacy technicians should have a solid understanding of reproductive system medicines and all of the conditions listed in this article.
Though we have focused on much of the detail you need to know, it is always worth reading around the subject to learn more about these medicines and reproductive conditions. The more study, the better your performance during the PTCB exam.
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