Pharmacology is an important branch of medical sciences.
It is one of the important subjects and deals with various aspects of drugs and poisons in the body.
By definition, it is the subject concerned with pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic aspects of the drug.
So in simple words, it is the study of how what drug does to the body and what body does to the drug.
The course covers information regarding administration of the medicament; it’s distribution, processing, and fate in the body. It also mentions the mechanism of action, side-effects, clinical toxicity, pharmacometrics, pharmacogenetics, etc.
Even the aspects of disease and disorders in relation to the drug are described in detail.
The pharmacology course is taught starting from in medicine, nursing, dental sciences, pharmacy, veterinary sciences and physiotherapy courses.
Further, one can study in detail during their master’s degree and also go for research in the doctoral degree.
Pharmacology course outline
The student can learn many aspects related to the drug, its effect on the body and expulsion from the body. It is studied in sections
General Pharmacology: This covers basic pharmacological aspects like.
This is the first aspect of pharmacology as one needs to know how a drug is made. From where it is obtained and how it is tested for use on humans for the said disease condition. In drug discovery process, one is exposed to different methods used in drug discovery, identification, selection and route of administration.
Routes of medicament administration:
A drug is given to a patient through many routes like through oral method, skin application, injections, etc.
The routes are decided based on many factors like drug solubility, clinical requirements, the age of the patient, cost factors, etc.
The routes are different for babies, old people, unconscious persons, etc.
Once the drug is developed, the next aspect will be to find which routes will be suitable for administration.
Also, read more details about routes of medicament administration.
This deals with absorption, distribution, metabolism (degradation) and excretion of the drug by the body.
1. Absorption explains how a drug is given into the body through a tablet; injection etc. is taken up into the bloodstream. It also describes what factors can affect the absorption of the drug.
2.Distribution: This covers the method of how drug once absorbed is circulated and distributed all over the body.
3.Metabolism: Once the drug is distributed, it shows its effect and slowly gets degraded by metabolism. This metabolism deals with how a drug is degraded safely to make it less potent, less toxic and also converted into a state such that it can be easily removed from the body.
4.Excretion: This covers various organs which are involved in excretion of drugs after metabolism. It also describes how this process of excretion control drug action and toxicity in the body. The drug metabolized is removed from the body through urine, sweat or breathe, etc.
This part of pharmacology deals with how a drug produces its effects on the body. It describes the method of action of drug, receptors and other bio-molecules are involved in providing a therapeutic effect. Not all drugs act inside the body in a similar fashion. Every class of drugs has their definite mode to produce the effect on the body.
This deals with the dose of the drug and number of doses required to produce the desired effect. It is natural that an adult requires different concentration of drug than that of a child. So, the doses are fixed per weight of the body and are usually considered as an average of 60kg for a common man in any dosage form. It also helps to measure how to determine the dose, number of dosing needed for better therapeutic results.
Toxicology & side effects.
Here the poisonous effect of the drug on the body and its management are covered. It describes the toxicity produced by medicine in the body regarding side effects or other impairment. It helps to understand how toxicity varies based on dose, duration of the drug inside the body, the extent of toxicity due to distribution, etc. On studying it, one will know how to use the drug without toxic effects.
Further, the drugs source, its chemistry, properties, and other related aspects are also covered.
Pharmacology also has branches like Clinical toxicology, medical pharmacology, psychopharmacology, neuropharmacology, etc. based on the area of drug usage.
Pharmacology of individual organ systems:
Since human body has many organs and organ systems, diseases affect almost all of them. Therapeutics intervention is done with regards to an individual system. Hence pharmacology of individual systems is studied in detail. This includes drugs acting on
a. Central nervous system.
b. Autonomous nervous system.
c. Respiratory system.
d. Cardiovascular system.
e. Gastrointestinal drugs
f. Drugs acting on the kidney.
g. Blood and related disorders.
h. Hormones and autocoids.
i. Anti-microbial and chemotherapy.
j. Immune enhancers and suppressant drugs.
Besides above it also covers bioassays, toxicology basics.
Pharmacology course requirements:
This course is taught at the level of graduation and above in most universities. So for those willing to take up course will need to
- Have taken up biology related course till Junior, senior grade and even in under graduation.
- Also must take up medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, nursing or veterinary as they teach pharmacology as a part of the syllabus.
- Ability to work on laboratory animals and even on human subjects. healthcare
- Sound knowledge of human anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology. This knowledge helps one to understand the problem in disease and how to intervene to provide treatment with medicine.
Online pharmacology course:
Since the course requires practical experience, it was not appropriate for one to take up online pharmacology courses till recent past. But with improvement in technology and simulation lab experiments, it is quite easy for one to take up the online format of the course.
Here one is given audio, video format of teaching along with suitable notes. One can even perform lab experiment on a computer by using simulation software meant for the purpose. If you are unable to attend a full-time course, it would be wiser to complete the course online.