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Hypertension Notes

Pharmacology Notes > Drug Development (BIOL10822) Notes

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e-learning V - Hypertension
The British National Formulary

Ever wondered how your doctor chooses your prescription medicine? Rather than an extensive knowledge of pharmacology, the source of their information is likely to be a little book called the British National Formulary (BNF).

The BNF has a long history. It originated in 1939, with something called the National War
Formulary. This was a list of medications thought necessary to maintain a decent standard of health care. Doctors and pharmacists found it so useful that after the Second World War,
the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the British Medical Association decided to carry on printing it. To begin with, the BNF, as it was now known, was published every three years.
Since 1981, however, it has been updated every 6 months, reflecting the increased pace with which medicine changes. In 2005, a further milestone was reached when the first online version was published.

The BNF today is an indispensible reference source for all healthcare professionals in the
UK and contains information on the mechanism, safety, recommended dosage and cost of most licensed medicines.

Beta Blockers: the 'Universal Drugs'?

The beta adrenoceptor antagonists, or 'beta-blockers' are drugs, which you can usually recognise by the helpful -olol ending, that are used to treat hypertension, angina, heart failure and dysrhythmias, and are also a treatment for the physical symptoms of anxiety.

Beta-blockers exert most of their therapeutic effects via beta-1 adrenoceptors (found in the heart).
Drugs which have high potency at beta-1 and low potency at beta-2 adrenoceptors are known as cardioselective betablockers.
Drugs which do not distinguish between beta-1 and beta-2 are known as non-selective.

Basic terminology
 Indications: what the drug should be used for.
 Cautions: conditions or factors that increase the risk associated with the drug.
 Contra-indications: conditions or factors that suggest a drug should not be prescribed.
 Side effects: unwanted effects of a drug.

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