The Pharmacology TMC Exam Tips listed below are designed to help you pass the exam on your next attempt.

Are you getting ready to take the TMC Exam soon? Then you clicked on the right article because I’m going to share 13 Pharmacology Tips that you will definitely want to know before you take the real thing.

I know what it’s like because I was just in your shoes not too long ago. I’ve been through exactly what you’re going through and it’s my #1 goal to try to help make it easier for you than it was for me. Fortunately, I was able to pass the TMC Exam on my very first attempt, and I’m going to share some tips and insights that I learned from my version of the exam, all about Pharmacology. So are you ready to dive in?

Pharmacology TMC Exam Hints:

1. Plain and simple, you MUST know your medications! There will be very many questions involving them in some way, shape, or form on the exam.

It may not be in the form of a direct question like, “What is albuterol?” Instead, the medications will be incorporated within different questions so you will need to be able to apply what you know about the drugs and their effects, in order to answer the questions correctly.

2. In general, A good thing to remember is: A fast-onset medication (ex. albuterol) is used to treat a patient with acute bronchospasm. A long-duration medication (ex. salmeterol) is used to treat a patient with chronic, stable bronchospasm. A vasoconstricting medication (ex. racemic epinephrine) is used to treat airway edema or bleeding.

3. Never give Long-acting Beta2 Agonists for an acute asthma attack. As we just discussed, this would be a scenario in which you would want to give a fast-onset medication, like albuterol. 

4. There is always a question about stopping a bronchodilator treatment when a patient has an adverse reaction. Just know that if the patient’s heart rate increases by more than 20% from the baseline pre-treatment heart rate, then you should stop the treatment immediately and notify the physician.

5. Definitely remember and think Theophylline if you happen to see a question about methylxanthines on the exam. That’s because it’s the most common methylxanthine drug and it’s the one that you are most likely to see on the exam.

6. Don’t worry about memorizing the doses for all the specific drugs. The NBRC typically doesn’t ask for the specific dose in the questions. 

However, there is one exception to this tip. It may be a good idea to remember that a standard albuterol SVN dose is 0.5 mL (2.5 mg), given three to four times a day. That’s because if you were to see one on the exam, it’d most likely be this one.

7. There will be a question about antimicrobial medications that are used to treat a pulmonary infection. Look over the following a few times to refresh your memory:

  • Penicillin treats gram-positive bacteria
  • Gentamicin treats gram-negative bacteria
  • Isoniazid treats Mycobacterium Tuberculosis
  • TOBI treats Pseudomonas (cystic fibrosis)
  • Pentamidine treats P. carinii
  • Rivavirin treats RSV in young children

8. You may think that this tip is odd, but here it is: For the exam, be sure to remember that Viagra is a vasodilator, which means that it increases blood flow. No joke, sometimes the NBRC will incorporate this into a question on the exam.

9. Always give a diuretic (e.g. Lasix) to a patient with fluid overload. You should also know that a side effect of Lasix is a loss of potassium through the kidneys. So if this were the case, be sure to know to check the patient’s serum potassium level.

10. Remember that neuromuscular blocking agents do not block pain for the patient, so the patient should also receive sedation and pain control medications as well.

11. There will definitely be a question about pain control, so just remember to give the patient Morphine sulfate, or a similar narcotic analgesic agent to help control pain. Remember that too much of a narcotic can cause apnea. You can reverse a narcotic overdose with the drug Narcan. You will see a question about Narcan on the exam, I promise you.

12. We touched on this earlier, but I just want you to know that there is always a question about Ribavirin used to treat RSV. Ribavirin is administered with a SPAG (small particle aerosol generator), so be sure to remember that as well.

13. Remember this: If the patient’s bedside peak flow improves 15% after a bronchodilator treatment is given, then you know that the medication was effective and it can be considered a reversible obstructive airway disease.

These tips actually come straight from our book/course, Hacking the TMC Board Exam, where I share ALL of my tops tips and tricks that I learned while taking (and passing) the exam. I know you’ll find these Pharmacology tips useful when you take the TMC Exam, but if you want access to all my other insider tips and tricks for the other important subjects as well (including Mechanical Ventilation), be sure to check it out.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it! That wraps up this short post with 13 of my best Pharmacology tips for the TMC Exam. I hope you found this post to be helpful and I know you will. Just think, it won’t be long until you’re in my shoes, working and saving the lives of many, each and every day. And you can use the insights in this post to help you reach your goal as fast as possible.

Thanks again and I’ll see you in the next post, and as always, breathe easy my friend.

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