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Pharmacology is a branch of medicine, biology, and pharmaceutical sciences concerned with drug or medication action. A drug is defined as any artificial, natural, or endogenous (from within the body) molecule that has a biochemical or physiological effect on a cell, tissue, organ, or organism (sometimes the word pharmacon is used as a term to encompass these endogenous and exogenous bioactive species). It is the study of the interactions that occur between a living organism and chemicals, which affect normal or abnormal biochemical function. Pharmaceuticals are substances that have medicinal properties.
Drug composition and properties, functions, sources, synthesis, drug design, molecular and cellular mechanisms, organ/systems mechanisms, signal transduction/cellular communication, molecular diagnostics, interactions, chemical biology, therapy, medical applications, and antipathogenic capabilities are all covered in this field. Pharmacodynamics and Pharmacokinetics are the two main branches of pharmacology. Pharmacodynamics is the study of a drug’s effects on biological systems, whereas Pharmacokinetics is the study of a drug’s effects on biological systems. In general, pharmacodynamics is concerned with the interactions of chemicals with biological receptors, whereas Pharmacokinetics is concerned with the absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion (ADME) of chemicals from biological systems.

The terms pharmacology and pharmacy are frequently used interchangeably. Pharmacology is a biomedical science that discovers and characterizes chemicals that have biological effects and elucidates the cellular and organismal function of these chemicals. On the other hand, pharmacy is a healthcare profession that applies pharmacological principles in clinical settings, whether in a dispensing or clinical care role. The primary difference between the two fields is the distinction between direct patient care, pharmacy practice, and the science-oriented research field driven by pharmacology.

The term pharmacology derives from the Greek words o, pharmakon, “drug, poison,” and -, -logia, “study of,” “knowledge of”[2][3] (cf. the etymology of pharmacy). In Ancient Greek religion, pharmacy is the ritualistic sacrifice or exile of a human scapegoat or victim.

Because it includes endogenous and biologically active substances not used as drugs, the term pharmacon is used more broadly than drug. It typically includes pharmacological agonists and antagonists but can also include enzyme inhibitors (such as monoamine oxidase inhibitors). [4]

The main articles include a list of drugs by year of discovery and a History of pharmacy.

Since before 1100 BCE, naturally derived opium from opium poppies has been used as a drug.

Morphin, the main active constituent of opium, was isolated in 1804 and is now known to act as an opioid agonist.

Pharmacognosy and Avicenna’s The Canon of Medicine, Peter of Spain’s Commentary on Isaac, and John of St Amand’s Commentary on the Antedotary of Nicholas all predate clinical pharmacology.

Herbalism and natural substances, primarily plant extracts, were the focus of early pharmacology. Medicines were cataloged in books known as pharmacopeias. Since prehistory, crude drugs have been used to prepare substances derived from natural sources. However, the active ingredient in crude drugs is not purified and is contaminated with other substances.

Traditional medicine varies by culture and may be culturally specific, as in traditional Chinese, Mongolian, Tibetan, and Korean medicine. However, much of this is now considered pseudoscience. Entheogens are pharmacological substances with spiritual and religious applications and a historical context.

The English physician Nicholas Culpeper translated and used pharmacological texts in the 17th century. Culpeper went into detail about the plants and the conditions they could treat. William Withering’s work in the 18th century established much of clinical pharmacology. [9] Pharmacology as a scientific discipline advanced further in the mid-nineteenth century during the great biomedical resurgence. [10] Before the second half of the nineteenth century, the extraordinary potency and specificity of the actions of drugs such as morphine, quinine, and digitalis were explained hazily and concerning extraordinary chemical powers and affinities to specific organs or tissues. [11] Rudolf Buchheim established the first pharmacology department at the University of Tartu in 1847 in response to the need to understand how therapeutic drugs and poisons worked. [10] Following that, the first pharmacology department in England was established in 1905 at University College London.
Pharmacology emerged in the nineteenth century as a biomedical science that applied scientific experimentation principles to therapeutic contexts.

[12] The advancement of research techniques has accelerated pharmacological research and comprehension. The development of organ bath preparation, in which tissue samples are connected to recording devices such as a myograph and physiological responses are recorded after drug application, enabled analysis of drug effects on tissues. The invention of the ligand binding assay in 1945 enabled the quantification of drug-binding affinity at chemical targets. [13] Modern pharmacologists use genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, and other advanced tools to translate information about molecular mechanisms and targets into therapies directed against disease, defects, or pathogens, as well as methods for preventive care, diagnostics, and, eventually, personalized medicine.

Pharmacology is divided into numerous sub-disciplines, each with a distinct focus.

Systematization of the body

Pharmacology covers various topics, including neuropharmacology, renal pharmacology, human metabolism, intracellular metabolism, and intracellular regulation.
Pharmacology can also concentrate on specific body systems. Drug effects on various body systems are studied in divisions related to bodily systems. These include neuropharmacology, which deals with the central and peripheral nervous systems, and immunopharmacology, which deals with the immune system. Cardiovascular, renal, and endocrine pharmacology are also divisions. The study of drugs that affect the psyche, mind, and behavior (e.g., antidepressants) in treating mental disorders is known as psychopharmacology (e.g., depression). [14] [15] It is interested in the behavioral and neurobiological mechanisms of action of psychoactive drugs and incorporates approaches and techniques from neuropharmacology, animal behavior, and behavioral neuroscience. [Citation required] The related field of neuropsychopharmacology studies the effects of drugs on the nervous system and the psyche.

Pharmacometabolomics, also known as pharmacometabonomics, is a branch of metabolomics that involves quantifying and analyzing the body’s metabolites.


[17] It refers to the direct measurement of metabolites in a person’s bodily fluids to predict or evaluate the metabolism of pharmaceutical compounds and better understand a drug’s pharmacokinetic profile. [16] [17] Pharmacometabolomics can measure metabolite levels after a drug has been administered to monitor the drug’s effects on metabolic pathways. Pharmacomicrobiomics investigates how microbiome variations affect drug disposition, action, and toxicity. [18] Pharmacomicrobiomics is the study of drug interactions with the gut microbiome. Pharmacogenomics is the use of genomic technologies to discover and characterize drugs that are related to an organism’s entire genome. [Citation required] Pharmacogenetics is a branch of pharmacology that studies how genetic variation causes different drug responses. [Citation required] Pharmacogenetics studies the underlying epigenetic marking patterns that cause variation in a person’s response to medical treatment. [19]

Clinical trials and drug development
Drug development and drug discovery are the two main articles. Hit to the Lead

A toxicologist at work in a laboratory.
Pharmacology has applications in clinical sciences. Clinical pharmacology is the study of drugs in humans using pharmacological methods and principles. [20] Posology, the study of how medicines are dosed, is an example of this. [21]

Toxicology and pharmacology are inextricably linked. Pharmacology and toxicology are both scientific disciplines that study the properties and actions of chemicals. [22] However, pharmacology focuses on the therapeutic effects of chemicals, usually, drugs or compounds that could become drugs, whereas toxicology studies the adverse effects of chemicals and risk assessment. [22]

In medicine and pharmacy, pharmacological knowledge is used to advise on pharmacotherapy.

Drug development

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Drug discovery is the study of the process of developing new drugs. It includes drug design and development as subfields. [23] Drug discovery begins with drug design, the creative process of discovering new drugs. [24] In its most basic form, this entails creating complementary molecules in shape and charge to a specific biomolecular target. [25] Following the identification of a lead compound through drug discovery, drug development entails bringing the drug to market. [23] Drug discovery is linked to pharmacoeconomics, a subfield of health economics that considers the value of drugs. [26] [27] Pharmacoeconomics is the study of drug costs and benefits to guide optimal healthcare resource allocation. [28] Pharmaceutical engineering, a branch of engineering, study the techniques used for drug discovery, formulation, manufacturing, and quality control. [29] Safety pharmacology focuses on detecting and investigating potential adverse drug effects. [30]

Schematic of the drug discovery cycle
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The drug discovery process.
Medication development is a critical concern for medicine but has significant economic and political implications. Many governments regulate the manufacture, sale, and administration of medications to protect consumers and prevent abuse. The Food and Drug Administration is the primary regulatory body in the United States, enforcing standards set by the United States Pharmacopoeia. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is the primary regulatory body in the European Union, and they enforce standards set by the European Pharmacopoeia.

A library of candidate drug compounds’ metabolic stability and reactivity must be evaluated for drug metabolism and toxicological studies. SPORCalc is a recent computational method proposed for quantitative predictions in drug metabolism. [31] A minor change in the chemical structure of a medicinal compound may change its medicinal properties, depending on how the change relates to the structure of the substrate or receptor site on which it acts: this is known as the structural activity relationship (SAR). When a useful activity is discovered, chemists will create many similar compounds known as analogs to maximize the desired medicinal effect (s). This can take several years to a decade or more, and it is very expensive. [32] It is also necessary to determine the medicine’s safety, its stability in the human body, and the best form for delivery to the desired organ system, such as tablet or aerosol. The new medicine is ready for marketing and sale after extensive testing, which can take up to six years. [32]

Because of these long timescales and because only one out of every 5000 potential new medicines will ever reach the open market, this is an expensive way of doing things, frequently costing more than a billion dollars. Pharmaceutical companies may do one of several things to recoup their investment: [32]

Before spending company funds, thoroughly research the demand for their potential new product.

Obtain a patent on the new medicine, preventing other companies from producing it for a set period.
The inverse benefit law describes the relationship between a drug’s therapeutic benefits and its marketing.

The placebo effect must be considered when designing drugs to determine the true therapeutic value of the drug.

Drug development employs medicinal chemistry techniques to design drugs chemically. This is similar to the biological approach of identifying targets and physiological effects.

broader contexts
Pharmacology can be studied in contexts other than the physiology of individuals. Pharmacoepidemiology, for example, is concerned with the variations of drug effects in or between populations; it is the link between clinical pharmacology and epidemiology. [33] [34] The study of the effects of used pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) on the environment after their elimination from the body is known as pharmacoenvironmentology or environmental pharmacology. [35] Because human health and ecology are inextricably linked, environmental pharmacology investigates the environmental effects of drugs, pharmaceuticals, and personal care products. [36]

Because drugs can have ethnocultural significance, ethnopharmacology studies the ethnic and cultural aspects of pharmacology.


New fields of study
Phytopharmacology is a new medical approach in which drugs are activated and deactivated using light. Light energy is used to change the shape and chemical properties of the drug, resulting in a change in biological activity. [38] This is done to eventually achieve reversible control over when and where drugs are active, thereby preventing side effects and drug pollution of the environment. [39] [40]

Pharmacology theory
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Three dose-response curves. Dose-response curves are extensively studied in pharmacology.
Chemical research necessitates intimate knowledge of the biological system in question. The field of pharmacology has changed dramatically as our understanding of cell biology and biochemistry has grown. Through molecular receptor analysis, it is now possible to design chemicals that act on specific cellular signaling or metabolic pathways by affecting sites directly on cell-surface receptors (which modulate and mediate cellular signaling pathways controlling cellular function).

Chemicals can possess and exert pharmacologically significant properties and effects. Pharmacokinetics describes the chemical’s effect on the body (for example, half-life and volume of distribution), whereas pharmacodynamics describes the chemical’s effect on the body (desired or toxic).

System components, receptors, and ligands
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Articles of primary importance: Ligand (biochemistry), Drug List, and Neurotransmitter

The cholinergic synaptic synapse. Pharmacological agents can be used to modulate synaptic targets. Cholinergic (such as muscarine) and anticholinergics (such as atropine) target receptors in this case, while transporter inhibitors (such as hemicholinium) target membrane transport proteins, and anticholinesterases (such as sarin) target enzymes.
Pharmacology is typically studied concerning specific systems, such as endogenous neurotransmitter systems. Acetylcholine, adrenaline, glutamate, GABA, dopamine, histamine, serotonin, cannabinoid, and opioid are some major systems studied in pharmacology.

In pharmacology, molecular targets include receptors, enzymes, and membrane transport proteins. Enzyme inhibitors can be used to target enzymes. Structure and function are typically used to classify receptors. G protein-coupled receptors, ligand-gated ion channels, and receptor tyrosine kinases are among the major receptor types studied in pharmacology.

Pharmacodynamics \s[icon]
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Pharmacodynamics is the main article.
Pharmacodynamics is the study of how the body reacts to drugs. The Hill equation, Cheng-Prusoff equation, and Schild regression are examples of pharmacology models. The binding affinity of ligands to their receptors is frequently investigated in pharmacodynamics theory.

Medication has a narrow or broad therapeutic index, a specific safety factor, or a therapeutic window. This describes the proportion of desired toxic effects. A compound with a narrow therapeutic index (close to one) has the desired effect at a dose close to the toxic dose. A compound with a high therapeutic index (greater than five) has the desired effect at a much lower toxic dose. Those with a narrow margin are more difficult to dose and administer, and therapeutic drug monitoring may be required (examples are warfarin, some antiepileptics, and aminoglycoside antibiotics). Most anti-cancer drugs have a narrow therapeutic margin: toxic side effects are almost always observed at tumor-killing doses.

Loewe additivity, one of several commonly used reference models, can be used to describe drug effects.


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The main article is Pharmacokinetics.
The study of drug absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion is known as Pharmacokinetics.

Pharmacologists are frequently interested in L-ADME when describing the pharmacokinetic properties of the chemical that is the active ingredient or active pharmaceutical ingredient (API):

Liberation: How is the API separated from the medication (for solid oral forms (breaking down into smaller particles), dispersed, or dissolved?
Absorption: How does the API enter the body (via the skin, the intestine, or the oral mucosa)?
Distribution: How is the API distributed throughout the organism?
Metabolism: Is the API chemically converted inside the body, and if so, into what substances? Are these (also) active? Could they be harmful?
API excretion: How is the API excreted (via bile, urine, breath, or skin)?
Pharmacokinetics assesses drug metabolism, which is important in drug research and prescribing.

Administration, drug policy, and medication safety
The drug policy
Drug policy is the main article.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States is in charge of developing guidelines for drug approval and use. The FDA requires that all approved drugs meet two criteria:

The drug must be found to be effective against the disease for which it is being approved (where ‘effective’ means that the drug outperformed placebo or competitors in at least two trials).
Animal and controlled human testing must be performed on the drug to ensure its safety.
Obtaining FDA approval can take several years. Animal testing must be extensive and include several species to evaluate the drug’s effectiveness and toxicity. Any drug approved for use as a dosage range intended to produce a therapeutic effect or the desired outcome. [42]

The federal Prescription Drug Marketing Act of 1987 governs the safety and efficacy of prescription drugs in the United States.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) plays a similar role in the United Kingdom.

In the United States, Medicare Part D is a prescription drug plan.

The Prescription Drug Marketing Act (PDMA) is a drug policy act.

Prescription drugs are drugs that are governed by law.

Education and Societies

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Administration and societies
The International Union of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology, the Federation of European Pharmacological Societies, and the European Association for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics represent clinical and scientific pharmacology standardization and regulation.

Pharmaceutical codes have been used to develop systems for the medical classification of drugs. These include the National Drug Code (NDC), which the Food and Drug Administration administers; the Drug Identification Number (DIN), which Health Canada administers under the Food and Drugs Act; Hong Kong Drug Registration, which is administered by the Department of Health (Hong Kong); and the National Pharmaceutical Product Index in South Africa. Hierarchical systems have also been developed, such as the World Health Organization’s Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical Classification System (AT, or ATC/DDD); the Generic Product Identifier (GPI), a hierarchical classification number published by MediSpan and SNOMED, C axis. Drug ingredients have been classified using the Unique Ingredient Identifier.

Medical education is the main topic of this article.
Pharmacology is the study of the effects of drugs on living organisms and overlaps with biomedical sciences. Pharmacological research can lead to the discovery of new drugs and a better understanding of human physiology. Pharmacology students must thoroughly understand physiology, pathology, and chemistry. They may also need to be familiar with plants as sources of pharmacologically active compounds. [37] Modern pharmacology is multidisciplinary, encompassing biophysical and computational sciences and analytical chemistry. A pharmacist must be well-versed in pharmacology to work in pharmaceutical research or pharmacy practice in hospitals or commercial organizations that sell to customers. On the other hand, pharmacists typically work in a laboratory, conducting research or developing new products. Academic research (medical and non-medical), private industrial positions, science writing, scientific patents and law, consultation, biotech and pharmaceutical employment, the alcohol industry, food industry, forensics/law enforcement, public health, and environmental/ecological sciences all rely on pharmacological research. Pharmacology is frequently taught as part of the medical school curriculum to pharmacy and medicine students.
In 2 pages

What should the “culture and environment of safety” look like when preparing and administering medications?
Discuss a common breach of medication administration.
Identify three (3) factors that lead to errors in the documentation related to medication administration.
What can I do to prevent medication errors?
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