Lecture 02 - Principles of Pharmacology

Lecture 02 - Principles of Pharmacology - Lecture 02 -...

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Lecture 02 - Principles of Pharmacology What is pharmacology? Pharmacology (from pharmakon, the Greek word for drug) is the study of drugs (substances that produce changes in the body) and the characterization of their: Structure, targets, and mechanisms of action Distribution in and handling by the body Effects on the body, including desirable responses ( efficacy ) and undesirable side-effects ( toxicity ) Pharmacology can be studied at the molecular, (sub)cellular, tissue, whole animal, or population level Clinical pharmacology is the study of drugs in human patients Toxicology is the study of harmful rather than therapeutic effects Pharmacy involves manufacture, preparation, and dispensing of drugs Pharmacokinetics (“what the body does to a drug”) and phamacodynamics (“what a drug does to the body”) are the two key aspects of pharmacology Prescribing drugs is what MD’s “do” and drugs are the raison d’etre of pharmacists! Understanding the principles of pharmacology is thus “core” to both MD’s and PharmD’s Why are drugs important for human health? From early in human history, pharmacologically active substances (e.g., from plants, animals) have been used to ward off or treat disease Drugs can be molecules synthesized in the body (hormones or NTs) Drugs can be molecules not synthesized in the body (i.e., xenobiotics , from the Greek xenos , meaning “stranger”) Poisons are drugs that have almost exclusively harmful effects Discovery and development of drugs (including immunotherapy/vaccinations) has been a major factor in increasing life span and in improving the quality of life Essential to this advancement have been new scientific insights together with controlled clinical trials, in particular, randomized , double-blind trials A controlled trial – drug given to patient and control group In parallel has been the promotion of “alternative” and “complementary” treatments, many (most) of which have not undergone rigorous scientific validation Sometimes randomized, double blind trials to provide us with more information Why are drugs important for human health? The search for “ magic bullets ”—agents that treat disease or produce desirable effects but lack harm— and ways to improve such agents has driven scientific discovery and health care for >100 years There are very few magic bullets* with high benefits and very low risk The challenge is to identify and use (i.e., prescribe , dispense , administer , and monitor ) drugs that maximize efficacy but minimize toxicity Primum non nocere: “ First do no harm” *Examples: selective toxicity of antimicrobials that target bacterial cell walls (lacking in animals/humans) or enzymes found only in micro-orgaorganisms *i.e. Penicillin Important Terminology Pharmacodynamics includes the measurement of
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This note was uploaded on 09/14/2011 for the course PHARM cs taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '11 term at UCSD.

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Lecture 02 - Principles of Pharmacology - Lecture 02 -...

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