Pharmacology for Technicians PTCB Test Prep

Top 50 Must-Know Drug Classes for the PTCB Exam!

Aug 7th, 2019
pharmacology for technicians

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.

For example:

  • 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.

Drug Class Indication Examples
Analgesic Pain Acetaminophen

Codeine

Morphine

Oxycodone

Antacid Heartburn

Acid reflux

Magnesium hydroxide

Aluminum hydroxide

Antianginal Chest pain due to reduced oxygen supply Nitroglycerin
Anticonvulsant

Antiepileptic

Epilepsy

Seizures

Valproate

Carbamazepine

Ethosuximide

SSRI

 

Depression Fluoxetine

Paroxetine

Sertraline

Citalopram

Escitalopram

Fluvoxamine

Antipsychotic Schizophrenia

Bipolar disorder

Lithium

Clozapine

Risperidone

Olanzapine

Aripiprazole

Anticoagulant Prevent formation of blood clots Warfarin

Heparin

Enoxaparin

Antihistamine Allergies Cetirizine

Diphenhydramine

Fexofenadine

Chlorpheniramine

Loratadine

Antihypertensives Hypertension

High blood pressure

Beta blockers

–  Metoprolol

Calcium channel blockers

–  Verapamil

ACE inhibitors

–  Ramipril

Diuretics

–  Hydrochlorothiazide

Alpha blockers

–  Terazosin

Antibiotics Bacterial infections Penicillins

–  Amoxicillin

–  Ampicillin

Cephalosporins

–  Ceftriaxone

–  Cefazolin

–  Cefdinir

Macrolides

–  Clarithromycin

Tetracyclines

–  Tetracycline

–  Minocycline

Aminoglycosides

–  Amikacin

–  Gentamicin

Antineoplastics Cancer Cyclophosphamide

Etoposide

Doxorubicin

Cisplatin

NSAID

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

Inflammation Ibuprofen

Aspirin

Naproxen

Celecoxib

Meloxicam

Antitussive Cough Dextromethorphan
Antivirals Viral infections Acyclovir
Bronchodilators Asthma Albuterol
Decongestants Relieve nasal congestion Pseudoephedrine

Xylometazoline

Phenylephrine

Diuretic Increase urine output Furosemide

Hydrochlorothiazide

Amiloride

Hormones Replace endogenous hormones in the body Conjugated estrogens

Levothyroxine

Medroxyprogesterone

Hypnotic Induce sleep Zolpidem

Zaleplon

Zopiclone

Sedative Reduce irritability Benzodiazepines
Tranquilizers

Anxiolytics

Reduce anxiety Benzodiazepines

SSRIs

Antipsychotic drugs

Proton-pump inhibitor Acid reflux Omeprazole

Rabeprazole

Pantoprazole

Antiarrhythmic Suppress abnormal rhythms of the heart Quinidine

Lidocaine

Amiodarone

Verapamil

Diltiazem

Biguanide Diabetes type 2 Metformin
Taxanes Chemotherapy drugs Paclitaxel

Docetaxel

Nootropic Cognitive enhancers Caffeine

Amphetamine

Methylphenidate

Eugeroic Excessive sleepiness

Nacrolepsy

Modafinil
MAO inhibitors Depression Isocarboxazid

Selegiline

Tranylcypromine

Statins High cholesterol Atorvastatin

Simvastatin

Pravastatin

PDE5 inhibitors Erectile dysfunction Sildenafil

Tadalafil

Expectorant Increase volume of airway secretions to encourage mucus expulsion from the respiratory tract. Guaifenesin
Antidote Reverse the toxic effects of drugs. N-acetylcysteine

Activated charcoal

Opioids Pain Codeine

Morphine

Oxycodone

Tramadol

Laxatives Diarrhea Loperamide

Senna

Bisacodyl

H2 antagonists Excessive acid production Ranitidine
Dopaminergic drugs Parkinson’s disease Levodopa

Ropinirole

Pramipexole

Corticosteroids Inflammation

Airway inflammation

Skin inflammation

Prednisolone

Dexamethasone

Hydrocortisone

Beclometasone

Bisphosphonates Osteoporosis Alendronic acid

Zoledronic acid

Pamidronate

Benzodiazepines Sedation

Anxiety

Seizures

Muscle relaxation

Diazepam

Midazolam

Nitrazepam

Antimuscarinics Urinary frequency

Urinary urgency

Urge incontinence

Oxybutynin

Solifenacin

Tolterodine

Antifungal drugs Fungal infections Clotrimazole

Fluconazole

Ketoconazole

Antiemetics Nausea/vomiting Cyclizine

Promethazine

Prochlorperazine

Ondansetron

ACE inhibitors Hypertension Ramipril

Perindopril

Lisinopril

Xanthine oxidase inhibitors Gout Allopurinol

Febuxostat

Fluoroquinolones Bacterial infections Ciprofloxacin

Moxifloxacin

Levofloxacin

Antiretroviral drugs HIV Tenofovir

Lamivudine

Stavudine

Efavirenz

Dolutegravir

Phosphate binder High blood phosphate levels in patients with renal failure Sevelamer
Fibrates High cholesterol

High blood lipids

Fenofibrate
Immunosuppressant Overactive immune response

Autoimmune disease

Organ transplant rejection

Azathioprine

Cyclosporine

DMARD

Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug

Rheumatoid arthritis

Crohn’s disease

Methotrexate

Leflunomide

Rituximab

Infliximab

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
    • Metoprolol
    • Bisoprolol
    • Metoprolol
  • ACE inhibitors always end in the suffix -pril
    • Ramipril
    • Perindopril
    • Captopril
  • Corticosteroids always end in the suffix-one
    • Hydrocortisone
    • Prednisolone
    • Beclomethasone
  • Benzodiazepines always end in the suffix -am
    • Diazepam
    • Midazolam
    • Nitrazepam
  • Statins (HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors) always end in the suffix -statin
    • Atorvastatin
    • Fluvastatin
    • Simvastatin

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!

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