Nursing Mnemonics & Tricks (Pharmacology)


1. Aspirin

Aspirin is a salicylate drug that has anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-pyretic and anti-platelet effects.

It is commonly used to relieve acute symptoms like fever, pain and inflammations. It also has anti-platelet effects as it inhibits the production of thromboxane.

In using aspirin, side-effects like tinnitus, stomach pain, GI bleeding and thrombocytopenia should be monitored.

aspirin side effects nursing mnemonics

Study Guides:

What is Aspirin? –

acetylsalicylic acid, Aspirin, Ecotrin –


2. Insulin

When mixing insulin, the clear one should be drawn before the cloudy one. The fast-acting insulin is the clear one and it should be drawn first so it will not be contaminated by the long-acting insulin.  The cloudy one, which is the long-acting insulin, should be also shaken first.

insulin nursing mnemonics

Study Guides:

Insulin: How to Give a Mixed Dose – UPMC

Steps for Preparing a Mixed Dose of Insulin – WebMD


3. Anti-Hypertensive Drugs

The top three most commonly prescribed anti-hypertensive drugs can be easily remembered through the mnemonic ABC – ACE inhibitors, Beta blockers and Calcium Antagonists.

ACE inhibitors end with “pril” like captopril, lisinopril and quinapril. On the other hand, beta blockers end with “olol” like atenolol, metoprolol and propranolol. Calcium antagonists end with “pine” like nifedipine, amlodipine and nircardipine. However, there are two calcium antagonists that don’t end in “pine” – diltiazem and verapamil.

antihypertensive drugs nursing mnemonics

Study Guides:

Medications for treating hypertension – Harvard Health Publications

Hypertension Medication – Medscape


4. Antitussives, Expectorants and Mucolytics

There are three medications commonly prescribed to treat cough – antitussives, expectorants and mucolytics.

Antitussives work by reducing the urge to cough which is beneficial for non-productive coughs. Expectorants, on the other hand, irritate and stimulate the mucus membranes to induce the coughing reflex thereby facilitating the release of sputum from the respiratory tract. Mucolytics work more on breaking the links in the formation of phlegm so it would be easier to expel out of the lungs.

antitussives, expectorants, mucolytics nursing mnemonics

Study Guides:

Antitussives, Expectorants and Mucolytics – PharmacyInformatics

Types of cough medicines – NPS MedicineWise


5. Aldactone

Spironolactone or aldactone is a potassium-sparing diuretic that gets rid of sodium and water in the circulatory system while saving potassium in the blood. It blocks aldosterone in the kidney which is responsible in regulating the salt and water balance in the body. In using spironolactone, you should watch out for headache, diarrhea, hyperkalemia, electrolyte imbalance, fatigue and GI disturbances.

aldactone nursing mnemonics

 Study Guides:

Spironolactone: Uses, Dosage, & Side-effects –

Spironolactone (Aldactone) –


6. Nitroglycerin

Nitroglycerin primarily relaxes the vascular smooth muscle to decrease blood pressure and maintain an effective coronary perfusion pressure. It provides symptomatic relief for angina.

For quick relief, nitroglycerin as sublingual tablets and translingual sprays are recommended. For slow or controlled-release dosages, patches, ointments and sustained-release tablets should be used.

nitroglycerin nursing mnemonics

Study Guides:

Nitrostat (Nitroglycerin) Drug Information – RxList

Nitroglycerin Drug Information – MedlinePlus


7. Anti-Retrovirals

Anti-Retrovirals work by terminating viral replication, blocking DNA activity and preventing the maturation of the retrovirus. These drugs also search for viruses and retroviruses that take different forms to escape the efficacy of standard anti-viral agents. Side-effects of using anti-retrovirals include rashes, headache and GI upset.

antiretrovirals nursing mnemonics

Study Guides:

Antiretroviral Agents Doctor’s Information –

Antiretroviral drug – Science Daily


Also Read:

Nursing Mnemonics & Tricks (Med-Surg Nursing)

Nursing Mnemonics & Tricks (Obstetrics and Newborn Care)

Nursing Mnemonics & Tricks (Diagnostics)

Nursing Mnemonics & Tricks (Assessment and Nursing Skills)