An iconic language for the Visualization of Concepts in Medicine

Lesson 5 : Icons for treatments and drugs

Drugs

In VCM, drugs are represented by the icons of the disorders they treat, with an additional green cross as a top-right exponent, for example:

Cardiac drugs
Anti-arrythmics
Cardiotonics (drugs for heart failure)
Drug for acne
Anti-viral agents
Antibiotics
Anti-diarrheal agents
Laxatives
Anxiolytics
Analgesics

To distinguish between therapeutic classes, the green cross can be replaced with a tube (for topical treatment), a tablet (for systematic treatment by the oral route) or a syringe (for systematic injectable treatment) as appropriate, for example:

Anti-diabetics
Insulin
 
Oral anti-diabetics
Anti-asthmatics
Local anti-asthmatics
 
Systemic anti-asthmatics

Some drugs do not treat current disease, but rather reduce risks, for example:

Oral contraceptives
Preventive vaccines

Drug-related concepts

Drug-related concepts are represented by a green square with a white pictogram inside. The square can be replaced the “increase” or “decrease” shapes:

Dose
High dose
 
Low dose
 
Dose increase
 
Dose decrease
 
Weaning / progressive decrease of the dose
Dose schedule
 
Discontinuation of drug treatment
 

Events related to drug intake are represented by a red square (like disorders):

Overdose

Like disorders, these events can be represented in a orange square to indicate a risk:

Risk of overdose

Non-drug treatments

Non-drug treatments are represented in the same was as drug treatments, but with different top-right pictograms:


Top-right pictogramsExamples
 
Diet
Diet for diabetes
Physical activity
 
Medical procedure
Delivery
Radiotherapy
Radiotherapy for ear-nose-throat cancer
Surgery
 
-ectomy
Colectomy
 
Abortion
Implant
Cardiac implant
Graft
Kidney transplant
 

 

Drug-drug interactions can by represenetd on “Mister VCM”. They can be combined with contraindications (like below), or represented on a separate “Mister VCM”.

Contraindications and interactions

 

Some remarks:

  • Drugs expressed as INN or brand names, such as digoxin, are replaced by thetherapeutic class(es) they belong to, for example cardioactive agents.
  • When, for a given anatomico-functional location, there are both a contraindication and a drug interaction on “Mister VCM”, the contraindication is represented. In the previous example, this was the case for the respiratory location: “pulmonary infectious disease” and “anti-asthmatics” are both represented by the “respiratory disorder” icon. A patient taking anti-asthmatics suffers from a pulmonary disorder.

Exercise 1

What do the following icons mean?

(1) Answer: Submit

 

(2) Answer: Submit

 

(3) Answer: Submit

 

(4) Answer: Submit

 

(5) Answer: Submit

 

(6) Answer: Submit

 

(7) Answer: Submit

 

(8) Answer: Submit  

(9) Answer: Submit  

(10) Answer: Submit

 

Exercise 2

The following “Mister VCM” represents contraindications and drug interactions for Hypericum:

Contraindications and interactions

 

Reply to the following clinical cases using the “Mister VCM” above:

Case #1: Mrs. X is 28 years old, she is diabetic (type I) and takes both insulin and oral contraceptive daily. She suffers from mild depression due to professional problems. Can you prescribe Hypericum?

(11-a) Yes Wrong answer!

(11-b) No Right answer!

 

Case #2: Mr Y 59. He suffers from mild renal insufficiency, gout treated by a uricosuric, and glaucoma treated with a beta-blocking agent. Can you prescribe Hypericum?

(12-a) Yes Right answer!

(12-b) No Wrong answer!

 

Case #3: Ms. Z is 48 years old. She suffers from recurrent depressive symptoms, usually treated with isocarboxazid (MAOI, monoamine oxidase inhibitors). Can she take Hypericum in addition, when she is going through difficult phases?

(13-a) Yes Right answer!

(13-b) No Wrong answer!