I had my fourth midterm in pharmacology today. This is the hardest class I have ever taken in my life. Ever. I think I hate it so much because there is just so much brute-force memorization that has to take place. We have a test about every two to three weeks, and each test is cumulative. We learn about 150 to 200 drugs for each test, so this test today covered about 800 drugs, and I had to know each drug's class, mechanism of action, side effects, and how they interact with other drugs.
The only way I can pull it off is having mnemonic devices. Hundreds and hundreds of stupid mnemonic devices. I just pulled out my notes so I can give you an example. Let's see here:
1) There's a drug called imitinib. When I read that word I think about mittens, so I imagine rabbit-fur mittens, and the German word for rabbit is Hase, and "hase" are the first letters of that drug's side effects (hepatoxicity, anemia, skin toxicity, edema).
2) To remember the drugs in the "selective seratonin reuptake inhibitors" class, I remember this phrase: Villa flew over the citadel, certain to be excited to see a pair of oxen that are flying oxen. This refers to the following drugs: vilazodone, fluvoxamine, citalopram, sertraline, escitalopram, paroxetine, and fluvoxamine.
3) To remember what all the drugs do that end with "lam" or "pam", I remember this: Aunt Pam and Lamb Chops are chilling on the couch watching Yo Gabba Gabba. This reminds me that this drugs are relaxing, anti-anxiety drugs and activate GABAergic neurons.
These mnemonic devices really help, and it's the only way I can remember these drugs. And this is what my brain looks like after a test like this: