Study Tip: Drug Structures

I sometimes get asked how much you need to know about drawing structures of drugs. When I sat for the primary, I didn’t know the answer to this question either, so I just learned everything. This strategy was good memory training, but I don’t think it is the most productive use of your study time.

The only reason you would be asked about a drug structure, is so that you can discuss how the structure affects its activity. The two drug classes where SARs are specifically called out in the LOs are:
Inhalational Agents
Sedative Hypnotics: The one in particular we are interested in is Midazolam

Other drugs where SARs are commonly asked are:
Local Anaesthetics
Sympathomimetics

It is not necessary to be able to draw the structures of these drugs. You may be shown a structure of one of the more common drugs, however, and asked if you recognise it. The question would then go on to SARs.

You may also be asked to describe some of the important features of the structures of muscle relaxants or opioids, particularly morphine derivatives. Being able to recognise the shape of the morphine molecule will help you to explain why related compounds have different actions.

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