Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Surviving Drug Disease Management Modules

Hi All!

I'm guessing that people enjoy reading my posts about pharmacy school, as I get oh so many comments. I'm glad that I am able to help those who are searching. So, in my quest to continue to help, I've decided to post about the infamous DDM. That is Disease and Drug Management.

Not every school follows the same curriculum so I can only speak for my institution. DDM, happens a little like this: You study a system for example the cardiovascular system, you go through pathophysiology, pharmacology of drugs that treat CVS diseases, and Therapeutics (that is the application of the drugs useful for treating the disease).

Lets lay it out more.... Take for example the Central Nervous System is the system we've chosen to study.

Pathophysiology would be the "WHAT" - What's wrong in patients with ADD, ADHD, Parkinson's Disease, Alzheimer's Disease....

Pharmacology would be the "How"- In the sense of, there's a lack of Dopamine in a patient with ADHD, how can we increase the amount of Dopamine available in the synapse? So we study all the drugs that can do this.

Therapeutics would be the "Why" Where" "When" and "Who"- With therapeutics you tend to contradict everything that you've just learned in pharmacology. It's the application of therapy. Why have you chosen to give your patient this drug versus another (maybe it's the drug of choice). When is the patient supposed to take the medication (evening or mornings, everyday or once a week). Who can an elderly patient take it, someone who is breastfeeding, someone who is severely burned. Where is this medication topical, inhaled, oral, parenteral....

So, what makes DDM difficult?
I'm not sure why it's so hard to get a straight forward answer from people. When I was asking people whom had graduated they would always say things like " It's just like nothing you've every experienced before!" And I agree you've probably never experienced that type of learning before but I think there's a better way to explain how to tackle it.

1. Stay on top of studying (take in consideration if you start studying the day your professor introducing information to you, the moment your professor walks out of class you are already "X" amount of pages or slides behind)

2. Read the book (reading the book helps to make connections that maybe you didn't catch in class or your professors didn't mention but not only that some professors will make notes from the book so you're reading and studying at the same time. Or you'll have professors who give you the practice problems from the book on a test and that's always a plus)

3.  Search for professor's old exams ( Either ask the professor directly or ask around, it helps you to understand how they tend to test the material or the material they tend to focus more on)

4. Don't Take a pharmacology test with a therapeutics mind ( these 2 arenas are very different and people tend to not get them straight.)

5.  For me having 5 teachers on one exam is difficult because every professor presents and looks for information differently

6. Committing the information to memory with your learning style. I learn well from reading so if I can read something I tend to commit it to memory. However that wasn't the case for pharmacology. Professors tended to test on half-lives, contraindications, and indications. So there would be 15 drugs with 6 contraindications, 8 side effects and 4 indications each. There was no way that I could read it and know it. I had to make flash card and write, write, write....

I have a few more blocks of DDM and it won't be easy but hopefully it will be worth it!

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