Top 50 Must-Know Drug Classes for the PTCB Exam!Aug 7th, 2019
Pharmacology for Technicians
Pharmacology forms a relatively major component of the PTCB test – accounting for 11 questions out of a total of 80 questions. That’s why it’s essential that you learn the top drug classes for the PTCB exam.
For many aspiring pharmacy technicians, pharmacology can prove their undoing.
Pharmacology for technicians isn’t overly detailed. That said, there are a lot of details that you need to know.
- The most commonly used medicines in the pharmacy setting
- Knowing both generic and trade names of drugs
- What those medicines are used to treat – their ‘indications’
- How those drugs work; their ‘mechanism of action’
- Clinically significant side effects and drug interactions
- Scheduled drugs and what specific schedules refer to
One of the best ways to learn pharmacology for the PTCB exam is to generate flashcards. Flashcards are an enormously powerful tool that let you commit to memory the relevant, essential facts about drugs and medicines. You can also take flashcards on the go, learning when and where you need to.
Below, we’ve gone one step further – putting together the top 50 drug classes for the PTCB exam.
Knowing about drug classes is important. They tell you how the drug works and for what purpose the drug is used. Once you learn what drug class a medicine belongs to, it makes learning about pharmacology that much easier. In other words, it offers a framework onto which you can build your knowledge further. When you take PTCB practice tests, drug classes come up time and time again.
Without further ado, then, let’s review these top 50 PTCB drug classes!
50 Drug Classes to Know for the PTCB Exam
Bear in mind, that many drug classes are used for different purposes.
Take beta blockers, for example. Beta blockers are used to treat a wide variety of conditions including angina, atrial fibrillation, hypertension, glaucoma, and congestive heart failure. Below in the table, then, you may find that ‘beta blockers’ are listed under the ‘antihypertensive drug’ class, though beta blockers are not limited to this use.
Bear these considerations in mind – that a drug class is often used for more than one purpose and, to add an extra layer of complexity, not all drugs within that class are used for the same purpose. To take the example of beta blockers, one member of that drug class may be used to treat glaucoma, but another drug is used to treat atrial fibrillation.
All beta blockers are, however, all identified with having the suffix –lol. Examples include atenolol, metoprolol, bisoprolol, and timolol.
|Antianginal||Chest pain due to reduced oxygen supply||Nitroglycerin|
|Anticoagulant||Prevent formation of blood clots||Warfarin
High blood pressure
Calcium channel blockers
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
|Decongestants||Relieve nasal congestion||Pseudoephedrine
|Diuretic||Increase urine output||Furosemide
|Hormones||Replace endogenous hormones in the body||Conjugated estrogens
|Proton-pump inhibitor||Acid reflux||Omeprazole
|Antiarrhythmic||Suppress abnormal rhythms of the heart||Quinidine
|Biguanide||Diabetes type 2||Metformin|
|PDE5 inhibitors||Erectile dysfunction||Sildenafil
|Expectorant||Increase volume of airway secretions to encourage mucus expulsion from the respiratory tract.||Guaifenesin|
|Antidote||Reverse the toxic effects of drugs.||N-acetylcysteine
|H2 antagonists||Excessive acid production||Ranitidine|
|Dopaminergic drugs||Parkinson’s disease||Levodopa
|Antifungal drugs||Fungal infections||Clotrimazole
|Xanthine oxidase inhibitors||Gout||Allopurinol
|Phosphate binder||High blood phosphate levels in patients with renal failure||Sevelamer|
High blood lipids
|Immunosuppressant||Overactive immune response
Organ transplant rejection
Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug
How to Remember Drug Classes
There are many great ways to remember drugs and what drug class they belong to.
One of the best ways is to examine the suffix of the drug, or the last syllable. Let’s review some of the most common examples:
- Beta blockers always end in the suffix-lol
- ACE inhibitors always end in the suffix -pril
- Corticosteroids always end in the suffix-one
- Benzodiazepines always end in the suffix -am
- Statins (HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors) always end in the suffix -statin
There are just a few of the most common examples, but there are many more that you will come across during your PTCB exam studies. There are also many other great ways to learn about the various indications, mechanisms of action, and the most commonly encountered trade names in pharmacies. Flashcards are one of the most effective methods in this regard.
If you are already a registered member of PTCB Test Prep, you have access to a comprehensive range of flashcards that focus on the Top 200 Drugs – their generic/brand names, indications, mechanisms of action, and prominent side effects and drug interactions – as well as other key drug classes that come up on the exam.
If you are not yet a member, register now.
Further to that, we’ve also put together a complete range of PTCB practice tests and full-length practice exams to help you maximize your result on exam day. Together, both flashcards and PTCB questions embed the facts that you need to know to ace the pharmacy technician exam.
We make learning about drug classes for the PTCB exam easy. Check back to our blog soon for even more great tips, tricks, and memory tools to help you become a qualified pharmacy technician!