Compare and contrast the pharmacology of mannitol and hypertonic saline.
A structured approach is important and a table worked best for most candidates, although a
few attempted this in free text. Despite attempting a structured answer very few candidates
provided information in regards to preparation, dose, monitoring of osmolarity, adverse
effects or contraindications. Understanding of the action of these drugs was expected and
factual inaccuracies were common with many candidates suggesting hypertonic saline acts
as an osmotic diuretic. Better answers mentioned other potential mechanisms of action of
mannitol. Many candidates failed to appreciate the impact on raised intracranial pressure.