Learning outcomes of the course unit
1. Knowledge and understanding. The course is finalized to the knowledge of pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of the main drugs classes acting at the nervous system, smooth and skeletal muscle, cardiovascular, respiratory and immune systems. Such notions will allow the student to better understand the basic biochemical and biomolecular events featuring living beings and how exogenous substances modify them. Particular attention will be paid to the knowledge of mechanisms involved in cell excitability, cell proliferation and tissue repair.
2. Ability to apply knowledge and understanding. Students will be stimulated to elaborate the acquired notions in the physiological context of the in whole animal and in vitro biological activity of the preparations or isolated cells. Such knowledge will focus on signs and/or symptoms that develop following the administration/intake of medicines, and to assess the effects they produce.
3. Making judgments. The student will acquire the knowledge for future planning of study protocols aimed at the characterization of new molecules, once the graduate will enter the world of work.
4. Communication skills. Students will acquire the terminology to describe objectively the actions of drugs and biomathematician models currently applied to quantify the effect of drugs on the different organs and systems.
5. Learning ability. Students should be able to use the acquired knowledge to understand and re-elaborate the literature regarding drugs, the use them in bio-pharmacologic field for research purposes.
Course contents summary
The course is aimed at understanding the effects of experimental as well as therapeutic drugs and their use in whole animals and/or on isolated organs or cells in culture for research purposes
1) General pharmacology.
Concept of drug; nomenclature, pharmaceutical forms. Origin and development of new drugs.
Animal models in pharmacology: in vitro and in vivo studies.
General principles of pharmacokinetics. Absorption, distribution, metabolism and elimination of drugs. Accumulation of drugs in the body.
Routes of administration of drugs
Concepts of bioavailability and bioequivalence.
Concept of pharmacogenetics and pharmacogenomics.
Principles of Pharmacodynamics: mechanism of drug action and molecular targets.
Drugs acting at receptor level: concepts of agonism, antagonism, inverse agonism; biomolecular models of drug action.
Factors that modify the response to drugs: species, race, sex, diseases.
Drug toxicity. Mechanisms of cellular and system toxicity. Allergy to drugs and Idiosincratic responses.
Drug interactions of clinical relevance. Incompatibility
2) Special and applied pharmacology.
Drugs that interfere with DNA and its functions.
Stimulants and depressants of the central nervous system: general anesthetics, sedatives (benzodiazepines and barbituric acid derivatives) and anticonvulsive medicaments;
Pain medications: Opioid analgesics, NSAIDs and acetaminophen; local anesthetics.
Drugs affecting central aminergic transmission.
Drugs acting at the autonomic nervous system: ganglion blockers and stimulants, adrenergic agonists and antagonists, cholinergic agonists and antagonists. Systemic and organ-specific effects of drugs affecting autonomic nervous system.
Competitive and depolarizing neuromuscular blocking agents. Botulinum toxin and direct spasmolytic drugs
Steroidal anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive drugs: focus on cortisone and congeners.
Gastrointestinal medications: antacids, antisecretory (histamine H2-receptor antagonists, proton pump inhibitors), antiemetics, prokinetics, anti-diarrheal, laxatives.
Cardiovascular drugs: antihypertensives, diuretics, antiarrhythmics, cardiac glucosides and other positive inotropic agents; beta-blocking drugs.
Drugs that alter the structure and activity of blood coagulation platelet aggregation.
Chemotherapy: general concepts of antibacterial, antiviral and anticancer treatment.
F. Clementi - G. Fumagalli, Farmacologia Generale e molecolare (Fourth Ed.), UTET - Torino, 2012 (727 pages).
Assessment methods and criteria