On completion of the module, students
? should have an appreciation of the basic principles of pharmacology and toxicology
? be familiar with the scientific approaches used in drug discovery and development
? recognise a selection of British Pharmacopoeia Commission Approved names of drugs and be able to group together those drugs, which share common pharmaceutical properties
? know the pharmacological properties of each drug group that are relevant to its therapeutic uses and adverse effects, with special emphasis on those which can be deduced from a knowledge of the site and mechanism of action
? know the general principles of the subject and thus be able to assess the described properties and therapeutic claims made for any new drug or group of drugs.
The aim of this module is to provide a sound pharmacological basis on which to build a rational approach to drug discovery and development.
The students will have two things in common: an interest in the uses to which drugs are put, and the fact that they are embarking on the study of pharmacology. The lecture course can be divided into six components, each a self-contained unit, which expounds a particular pharmacological theme.
1. Drugs that interact with cholinergic and noradrenergic control mechanisms, which impinge on so many physiological systems and is chosen as a starting point because it is in this area that mechanism of drug action is probably best understood. Also a high proportion of drugs mentioned have therapeutic potential and the system can be used as a model to predict or infer the mechanism of action of drugs in other less well understood areas.
2. The second theme collects together groups of drugs that act outside the CNS but by mechanisms other than those central to autonomic or to endocrine pharmacology. Topics to be covered in this section include local anaethesia, cardiac glycosides and calcium channel blockers, diuretics and anticoagulants.
3. Drug action on the central nervous system will focus heavily on the concepts of specific interaction with physiological chemical mediators developed in the preceeding lectures. A second important principle - that of non-specific depressant action on biological function - also emerges.
4. Previous lectures will have concentrated on drug interactions with endogenous systems but in the next lectures consideration is given to the mechanism of drug action on parasites - metazoa and microorganisms. The emphasis is now on mechanisms by which parasitic cell growth or survival is selectively inhibited.
5. By now the student has been provided with sufficient information in pharmacology so that drugs are no longer simply names. The fifth theme therefore changes from drug action to drug disposition and metabolism - from what drugs do to the body to what the body does to drugs - so that an appreciation of how these factors influence drug action can be gained.
6. The final theme - applied pharmacology - illustrates, for selected disease states, how the principles and concepts of mechanistic pharmacology are exploited in the setting of practical therapeutics. Here the approaches employed in the drug discovery industry will be examined
** Recommended Text
Foster, R.W (1986) Basic pharmacology
Gard, P., (2000) Human pharmacology
Taylor & Francis
This module is at CQFW Level 6