12 Top Pharmacology Books for Medical Students

Searching for Pharmacology Books for Medical Students? This is the right article for you.

Pharmacology is a branch of medicine that deals with the composition, function, and synthesis of drugs in living organisms. It is a necessary course of study for med students because they need the knowledge to administer and recommend drugs for patients.

Pharmacology is only done in the second year of med school in most universities and is regarded as one of the hardest courses to grab. There is a lot of memorization going on in pharmacology because you will need to master different medications for different illnesses.

Most of the time, med students are only able to scale through the course and get a passing mark because there is little focus on making sure the students learn the course.

The student is left with the burden of trying to understand the course and also memorize the different drugs used on diseases and their actions on the body.

Basics of Pharmacology

Before recommending pharmacology books for detained learning, we will help you cover some basic grounds in pharmacology to aid with your learning.

Pharmacology consists of two major fields:

  • Pharmacokinetics 

  • Pharmacodynamics

Pharmacokinetics deals with the distribution of drugs to the various parts of the body, their concentration in the blood and their half-life.

This part clearly explains the drug-blood interaction and how different drugs act in the body.

Pharmacodynamics explains how the drug’s dosage affects its activity in the body. It studies the concentration of the drug at the receptors.

Understanding the different models of operation in pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics will broaden your understanding of pharmacology.

How to Study Pharmacology

If you are having a hard time studying pharmacology, here are some tips from students all over the world to help you understand pharmacology.


Making use of YouTube videos for any topics that you need more clarity on, the videos can go a long way to help you understand the course.

From survey, most students use this method to understand difficult subjects and get better in subjects they struggle with.

Anki Flashcards

Anki flashcard is a program that uses flashcards to help you remember details you are struggling with faster.

Anki flashcards make remembering things really easy, it uses spaced repetition to help students master the subjects they struggle with.

Anki allows you to create cards on topics you struggle with or are trying to memorize. Anki then quizzes you with the questions you set from those topics repeatedly, helping you learn pretty fast and quickly.

This method of learning using Anki flashcards has been recommended by med students because of the ease of study and aiding the to prepare for exams.

Anki flashcards is free for computers but cost $25 for a phone app. To download Anki flashcard, click here

Make Relations

One quick way to understand and learn pharmacology easily will be to associate each drug with its function and action in the body.

When you link the drug with its functions, it is easier to memorize and remember.

You can also categorize them on how they affect the body, for example; Amlodipine which ends in “pine”.

The ending suffix “pine” is a category for all drugs ending in “pine” The drugs are known to be calcium channel blockers.

Grouping drugs like this is an efficient way of study that can help you get a hang of pharmacology and actually start enjoying the course.


In pharmacology and medicine at large, mastering the art of repetition of concepts you need to remember is a key for success in learning and passing your examinations.

You will need to remember a lot of terms, definitions, phrases, and words, and making use of this life-saving skill in med school will help them stick to your head.

Keep on saying them to yourself constantly and at intervals till it sticks to your short-term and long-term memory. Do it until you can recall what you are trying to memorize at will. I wish you good luck!

The List of Pharmacology Books for Medical Students

Pharmacology for the medical student by Erick Arden Bourasia 2014

Pharmacology for medical students by Erick Arden Bourasia 2014 is what you most definitely need in med school.

It focuses on equipping you with what you need at your level in med school to pass your USMLE examinations. It contains over 300 past questions of USMLE.

The book is intended for medical students to help them overcome the stress and burden of a new course. The book breaks down pharmacology into bits that students will understand.

Pharmacology examination and board review by Bertram G Katzung

This book details all you need to know to understand pharmacology. It has 10 parts which are well structured to guide you through pharmacology with ease.

It starts off with the basics, pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics in part 1. Some areas you will cover in the book include:

  • Pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics

  • Pharmacogenomics

  • Cardiovascular drugs

  • Drugs with important actions on the muscle eg, Histamine

  • Drugs that act in the central nervous system

  • Chemotherapeutic drugs

  • Drugs with important action in the blood.

Pharmacology review by Medical creations 2021

Pharmacology review is a comprehensive guide for students who find it hard in pharmacology. The book serves as a reference manual for students that find it hard with pharmacology.

The book explores the fundamentals of pharmacology and provides an expert review to help you get started with pharmacology.

This book is essential for medical, nursing and paramedical students in understanding the core concepts of pharmacology.

Brody’s Human Pharmacology2009. 6th edition

Brody’s human pharmacology is a n essential guide in pharmacology. It keeps you up to date with all the information you need to know in pharmacology.

It contains the latest trends and changes in the field of pharmacology.

It comes with websites that illustrate fully all the concepts you need to know in pharmacology.

The book is also packaged with self-assessment questions to make sure you understand the topic. Brody’s human pharmacology is simply a modern book for modern pharmacology.

Brs pharmacology by Gary C Rosenfeld 2010

Brs pharmacology is a full package for health professional students like dentists, medical students, nursing etc.

It is a guide for students who want to excel in their licensing examinations.

The 7th edition of the book properly details pharmacology and principles of drug mechanisms.

The book also contains reviews that familiarize students with the pharmacologic concepts they need to pass their USMLE and move to clinical practices.

The 7th edition of Brs pharmacology contains:

  • New and updated illustration and mechanisms of drug action in the body.

  • Enhanced review questions with USMLE format

  • Efficient review of difficult topics to grasp.

Other Pharmacology Books for Medical Students:

  • Medical pharmacology p. Udaykumar 2011

  • Pharmacology for medical graduates by smita shenoy, 2020

  • A textbook of clinical pharmacology by James M. Ritter 2008

  • Undergraduate pharmacology for medical students by K. mukhopadhyay 2018

  • Practical manual of pharmacology R.S satoskar, 2021

  • Pharmacology and pharmacotherapeutics by R.S satoskar, 2021

If you are looking for reputable pharmacy schools in the US, here’s our article top pharmacy schools to study below:

30 Best Pharmacy Schools in the US

Pharmacology might be one of the toughest courses you will come across in med school and requires proper knowledge.

Pharmacology is very much important to learn because as a doctor, you’d be giving out prescriptions for diseases when you meet with a patient. Do your very best to learn and master the course in order to have an edge in clinical pharmacology.

We hope our comprehensive guide and books on pharmacology will give you the simplified knowledge and help you need.

Have you ever used the Anki flashcard s? tell us your experience in the comments. If you are new to the whole flashcard thing, we want to know if you will be considering it as an option in the comments. We wish you luck studying. 

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