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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Thomas L. Pazdernik, PhD (University of Kansas Medical Center)
Description: These flash cards differ from other pharmacology flash cards in that each card has a clinical vignette introducing a prototypic drug on one side with relevant, high-yield information on the other side.
Purpose: This is a study aid prepared by students who have recently gone through the curriculum and medical certification examinations; it is intended to aid students who are beginning the process. Many students will find this to be a very useful study aid.
Audience: The cards are intended specifically for students who are preparing for Step 1 of the USMLE. However, they would be valuable to anyone studying pharmacology.
Features: Each major topic is introduced with one or more cards with the important drugs presented in a tree diagram format with key principles on the other side. This is followed by a series of cards which have a clinical vignette on one side that exemplifies the use of a prototypic drug for treating the clinical situation. The other side states the drug class followed by relevant information addressed in five domains: similar drugs; mechanism of action; clinical uses; side effects; and other. Information is limited to high yield information that is pertinent to passing Step 1 of the USMLE.
Assessment: Students can choose from several sets of pharmacology flash cards in addition to these (Pharmacology Flash Cards, 2nd edition, Brenner and Back (Elsevier, 2009); Pharmacards: Review Cards for Medical Students, 3rd edition, Johannsen and Sabatine (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2009); Pharmacology Flash Cards, Kim and Swanson (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2004). Each has its own advantages and disadvantages with students expressing a strong preference for one over the others. The Lange Pharmacology Flash Cards have several strengths in that they are prepared by authors who have recently taken certification examinations and each prototypic drug is introduced by a clinical vignette. The use of clinical vignettes is a very powerful method to direct students to think in terms of patient care rather than only memorizing high-yield facts. This provides long-term learning and, moreover, programs students to think in a manner that facilitates success on USMLE examinations, since most questions involve clinical vignettes. Many students will find these flash cards to be a very useful study aid.