Pharmacology is a science that studies the effect of a drug and the body’s response to it. It is aimed at bringing therapeutic benefits from the drug.
Toxicology is a science that studies the poison characteristics of a substance and also its adverse effects on living beings.
But, in areas like drug research, both pharmacology and toxicology are employed. However, the role of these two studies is different yet vital.
Pharmacology vs Toxicology Differences
Since both studies are utilized in drug research, there is a chance of confusion, and it would be important to know the differences and similarities. But before we go further, we need to be clear of the terms “toxin and medicine.”
Poison/ toxin: Any substance beyond a certain dose acts as a poison to living beings. This is true for even the water we drink and the oxygen we inhale.
Drug or medicine: Any substance that is intended to treat, cure, diagnose, prevent a disease or body discomfort is called a drug.
So, from the above terms, it is clear that all substances can act as poisons, but only a few of them can act as medicine.
|1.||Aim||To ascertain the efficacy and compatibility of the drug in the treatment of disease.||To ascertain the doses at which the drug or substance causes toxicity. Or the even the causes of adverse effects and death (for legal purposes)|
|2.||Parameters||The effective dose (ED 50), the volume of distribution, clearance rate, half-life ( t1⁄2), etc.||The lethal dose 50 (LD50), lethal concentration 50 (LC50) are determined.|
|3.||Subjects for study||Studies are done on both animals and humans. But they are alive||Studies are confined mostly to animals. But for forensic purposes, it is done even on dead bodies.|
|4.||Substances tested||Medicines, devices, vaccines.||Any substance which can have an effect on living organisms.|
|5.||Point of studies||It is done after toxicological studies.||It is done prior to pharmacological studies to minimize the chances of adverse effects in humans and animals.|
|6.||Range of studies||It is done at different levels as preclinical and clinical studies.||It is done as acute, subacute, and chronic toxicity studies.|
|7.||Scale of studies||It is done on a small scale, like in hundreds or thousands of subjects.||It is continued on a wide scale-like on thousands or millions of subjects (clinical trials 3 and 4) to check for adverse effects on the whole population.|
|8.||Reports||The minimum dose is required to produce a therapeutic effect.||The maximum tolerable dose without toxic effects is determined.|
|9.||End goal||To restore health and well-being in a safe manner.||To preserve and protect the health of humans and the environment.|
|10.||Branches||It has two main branches pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics.||Different branches like medical toxicology, environmental toxicology, forensic toxicology, etc.|
Pharmacology vs. Toxicology Similarities in medicine
There are few similarities when seen on medical studies in between them like
|1||Animals used||Albino Rats, mice, guinea pigs||The same set of animals is used for toxicology too.|
|2||Method of administration||Oral or parenteral administrations||The method of administration is the same as in pharmacology.|
|3||Mode of study||Screening method||It is also a screening test.|
|4||Substances state or form||It can be either a solid, liquid, gas, powder, crystalline or amorphous.||The same form of the substance is used for both studies when a particular medicine is screened.|
What is the dose in toxicology?
The dose at which the substance shows adverse effects is toxicology. LD50 or LC50 determines this.
Are toxicology and pharmacology the same
You could make out from the above differences that they are not the same. But both are needed for adequate healthcare.