Module 1 - Introduction to pharmacology
- The birth of pharmacology as a science
- How drugs work
- Drug nomenclature
- Therapeutic drug market
- Guide to poisons regulations
- Mechanisms of drug action
- Dose-response relationships.
Module 2 - Agonists, antagonists, and drug toxicity
- What are agonists and antagonists?
- Affinity vs. efficacy
- Types of receptor antagonists
- Partial agonists and spare receptors
- Desensitisation and tachyphylaxis
- Drug toxicity.
Module 3 - Drug receptors
- To describe the major types of target proteins on which drugs act
- To describe structure and activity of receptors and ion channels
- To describe the various forms of receptor- effector linkages
- Receptor classification
- Other drug targets (enzymes and transporters).
Module 4 - Pharmacokinetics
Administration & Absorption
- Understand the effect of pH partitioning and lipid solubility on drug absorption
- Describe factors affecting the absorption of drugs via oral administration, especially first-pass metabolism
- Understand the suitability, limitations and precautions of various routes of administration
- Outline the concept of bioavailability.
- Describe the influence of the volume of distribution on tissue distribution of drugs
- Utilise the volume of distribution to calculate body burden, verify quantities of ingestion and calculate peak plasma concentrations
- Explain the role of plasma proteins in modulating free drug plasma concentrations and to alter drug half-life
- Explain risks associated with displacement of plasma protein-bound drugs.
Metabolism & Excretion
- Understand the concept of prodrugs
- Outline how the metabolism and/or excretion of a drug may be influenced by the physicochemical properties of the drug
- Describe the basic mechanisms of phase I and phase II reactions
- Outline the mechanisms involved in renal and biliary elimination of drugs
- Describe how enterohepatic recirculation prolongs the duration of action of drugs.
- Explain how drug clearance (CL) determines steady-state plasma concentration
- Calculate the half-life, volume of distribution, clearance and loading doses of drugs
- Explain how the time-course of drug clearance can be described using one or two compartment kinetic models
- Understand differences between first-order and zero-order (saturation) kinetics
- Explain the pharmacokinetics of alcohol, including why alcohol has a constant rate of metabolism per hour.
Over the course, emphasis will be placed on modes of drug action, structure-activity relationships and drug targets. During the course, there will be opportunities to assess your understanding of the topic and discuss responses through the use of monitored discussion boards and a Zoom tutorial session. Resources and activities are to be accessed via the Canvas learning management system (access will be provided).
Participants will be given access to a self-directed dose-response tutorial. They are encouraged to direct their learning with video links provided and engage in coordinated learning via the monitored discussion boards.
In the pharmacokinetic Zoom tutorial, you will work in groups to tackle a range of pharmacokinetic problems based on real-life examples relating to the absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion of drugs. During the final hour of the tutorial, you will be given 30 minutes to complete responses based on a case study involving drug interactions to determine the mechanism, potential consequences for patients and alternative therapeutic strategies. Your group will be required to present your case study findings in a five-minute presentation to the course coordinator over Zoom. The tutorial component will be worth 30% of your mark and the case study presentation worth 20%.
Content will further be assessed through an end of session quiz that will be delivered on Canvas. All topics delivered on Canvas and during the Zoom tutorial are assessable in this quiz. It will be worth 50% of your final mark.
Supplementary assessment items and examinations for this course are not available.
It is recommended that any questions regarding the above are posted to the monitored message board prior to emailing the course coordinator.