Non-Fiction Review: How to Pronounce Drug Names by Tony Guerra, PharmD

One of my promises is not to constantly “sell” you my books on my blog. I like to spotlight other authors, and I have a few queued up to tell you all about, but I like to be about variety. So this week, I bring you non-fiction.

Anyone who knows me understands my love for medicine. I have a passion for science. This week, I’m going to tell you all about my nerdy and strange fascination with pharmaceuticals. Go ahead, laugh. Tell me I’m crazy. I’ve heard it all before. I’m probably accused of being a shill for Big Pharma. If this shill thing is real, though, someone please tell me how to become one! I could use the money. (Pfizer? Merck? Novartis? Anyone?)

No takers? Damn.

Well, back to my fascination, then.

I think it all started when I was a young woman and a pharmacist saved my life. It wasn’t anything terribly dramatic, but it could have been. The pharmacist caught a potential life-threatening drug interaction, told me to wait, and then called my doctor. He got an answer right away (because that was one hell of an organized office), and found me an alternative drug to take. When I asked him what that was all about, he stopped everything he was doing and showed me exactly what happens chemically between the drug I was currently taking and the Rx I needed, and explained that I could have had sudden cardiac arrest.

He treated me like a peer, did not speak down to me, and made sure I understood to not ever take that one med while I was on the other one. Sadly, I don’t recall his name, but I know he saved my life.

Fast-forward about 20 years, and here I am, fascinated by chemistry, biochem, and human biology. People tell me I should go to med school or become a pharmacist, but I prefer to write.

One day I was searching on how to properly pronounce “metoprolol” because I had heard it two ways. Well, I like to pronounce things correctly, so I looked at google, and that’s when I found the coolest pharmacist ever.

His YouTube channel is Tony PharmD, and he is a teacher. He teaches Pharmacy Technicians, and I like to imagine all of his Pharm Techs graduate at the top of their classes. Because his videos are informative and they keep one’s attention, I can only think that his classes must actually be a lot of fun.

So I subscribed right away to his channel and I have not been disappointed.

Recently, Dr. Guerra (he has his doctorate in Pharmacology) posted about some books he’d written. Of course, now I’m drooling. Books? Books that can teach me? I love learning. There are two: Memorizing Pharmacology, and How to Pronounce Drug Names. If you are a student of pharmacy, whether you’re a tech or going for your doctorate, get them both. They will help you, especially if you struggle with chemistry.

Tony was kind enough to let me have a code for a copy of How to Pronounce Drug Names. I have finally made it all the way through the six-hour audio-book, and I have to say, it’s tempting me a great deal to go to school to become a pharmacist. I’m looking forward to listening to Memorizing Pharmacology–that one is seven hours and sixteen minutes long, so I’ll have to devote my evenings to that one soon when I’m not editing.

For any student who has English as a second language, has difficulties with pronunciation, and/or who struggles with chemistry, I believe they will find How to Pronounce Drug Names helpful in their studies. If you aren’t a student and just a nerd like me who likes to pronounce things correctly (it’s “lore-at-a-deen,” not “lore-at-a-dine”), you’ll enjoy it, too.

I especially enjoyed Tony’s choice of Ann M. Richardson as a narrator. Her voice is as smooth as silk. I thought she was a computer, at first. She keeps your attention with succinct pronunciation, although the anecdotes don’t carry much emotion. You have to watch Tony’s videos first and then listen to How to Pronounce Drug Names second to get a feel for the anecdotes in the introduction. But overall, that’s a minor shortcoming to Richardson’s reading, because it’s an educational piece and it’s more important to focus on learning than pure entertainment.

This is an excellent supplement to learning, but it can be useful for anyone. One copy is only $19.95, too, so it’s not even expensive, either–you get 6+ hours of learning out of it, and that’s worth the price.

Happy reading, or in this case, happy listening!


There will be more reviews to come, and a return of The Psych Writer is soon. In the meantime, follow Anne on Twitter and Facebook. It’s always a learning experience.