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  3. Pharmacology: How Drugs Work

Pharmacology: How Drugs Work (PHRM20001)

Undergraduate level 2Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelUndergraduate Level 2
Subject codePHRM20001
Semester 2
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

Pharmacology is an exciting discipline that provides insight into the mechanisms of action and beneficial and unwanted effects of drugs in the body. This is achieved by integrating knowledge from a range of biosciences including how the body works in health and disease. This subject uses specific examples of instantly recognizable and newly developed drugs to demonstrate how pharmacologists identify drug targets, design new drugs and test their therapeutic effectiveness.

Intended learning outcomes

  • To provide an understanding of the basic principles of drug action, this subject focuses on receptor sites that mediate drug action and the physiological and biochemical mechanisms associated with the response to a drug. In addition, the subject investigates the ways in which drugs are handled by the body in terms of their absorption, distribution and metabolism.The activity of hormones and drugs, including commonly used therapeutic agents for cancer, hypertension, asthma and depression are utilised to illustrate these principles. The subject also examines the development of new drugs from natural sources or new chemical syntheses and how these drugs are evaluated and regulated. Aspects of drugs of abuse and addiction and the potential strategies for dealing with this problem are explored. The principles of selective toxicity, the toxicology of environmental contaminants and aspects of venoms and toxins are also examined.
  • The practical course is provided to reinforce the lecture material, and to give hands-on experience in experiments that illustrate the basic concepts of the pharmacological concentration-response relationship, competitive antagonism and pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic principles.

Generic skills

By the end of this subject students should have:

  • an understanding of the scientific basis of the action of the drugs

and developed skills in

  • experimental design and techniques
  • use of information technology resources for data analysis and interpretation.
  • critical thinking and problem solving
  • effective participation in small group work

Last updated: 10 August 2019