Medical Drug Side Effects Mnemonics
Mnemonics of drug side effects
Pharmacology can be overwhelming, so we’re going to look at some mnemonics to help with remembering the side effects of a few drugs.
Morphine side effects
Morphine is an opioid analgesic (narcotic) that is used to treat moderate to severe pain. It has several side effects & can cause addiction, overdose, or death if misused. Remember the following common side effects of MORPHINE:
Miosis (constriction of the pupil) Out of it (sedation) Respiratory depression Pruritus (common) & Pneumonia Hypotension & Headache Infrequency (referring to urinary retention or constipation) Nausea Emesis
Complications of oral birth control pills “ACHES”
Many women experience side effects from birth control pills such as irregular periods, nausea, or weight change. However, if any of these more serious side effects occur, emergency care is recommended as they may signify a serious condition.
Remember “ACHES” for the complications of oral birth control pills:
Abdominal pain Chest pain - shortness of breath Headaches (sudden/severe/persistent) - possibly caused by CVA or increase BP Eye problems - stemming from an increase in BP or vascular accident Severe leg pain - thromboembolism
Lidocaine toxicity “SAMS”
Lidocaine is an antiarrhythmic used in the acute management of ventricular arrhythmias & acute MI. Lidocaine can be toxic if administered inappropriately and in some cases may cause adverse reactions even when administered properly.
Remember “SAMS” for signs & symptoms of lidocaine toxicity:
Slurred or difficult speech - paresthesias, numbness of lips/tongue Altered CNS - drowsiness, dizziness, restlessness, confusion, arrhythmias Muscle twitching - tremors Seizures - convulsions, respiratory depression, respiratory & cardiac arrest
Atropine is an anticholinergic that is used to treat bradycardia, reduce salivation & bronchial secretions before surgery, and as an antidote for overdose of cholinergic drugs or mushroom poisoning.
Watch for signs & symptoms of overdose to include the following:
Hot as a hare - increased body temperature Blind as a bat - dilated pupils & blurry vision Dry as a bone - dry mouth, dry skin, dry eyes Red as a beet - flushed face, lightheadedness or fainting Mad as a hatter - confusion, anxiety, rapid HR, headache
Adverse side effects of Corticosteroids.
Corticosteroids are a class of steroid hormones that are used to suppress an overactive and unwanted immune response – decreasing swelling, redness, itching, & allergic reactions. However, they also have side effects that can be very serious, typically presenting as drug-induced Cushing’s syndrome.
Corticosteroids: adverse side effects: CUSHINGOID
Cataracts Ulcers Striae, skin thinning Hypertension / Hirsutism / buffalo Hump Immunosuppression, infections Necrosis of femoral heads (death of bone tissue due to lack of blood supply) Glucose elevation Osteoporosis, obesity (including classic ‘moon face’) Impaired wound healing Diabetes, depression/mood changes
These numerous side effects of corticosteroids are the result of their diverse effects on numerous organ systems.