Pharmacology and its Divisions Simplified: In Layman’s Terms

Pharmacology can be defined as the study of substances (natural, man-made or endogenous ie from within the body) that interact with life ( a cell, tissue, organ or organism) in a chemical reaction by binding to regulatory molecules and activating or inhibiting normal body processes.

These substances may be chemicals administered to accomplish a gainful medical effect on some processes inside the patient or for their poisonous consequences on regulatory processes in parasites tainting the patient. Such intentional therapeutic uses can be considered to be the best role in medical pharmacology, also described as the science of substances used to prevent, diagnose and treat disease. Toxicology is a field of pharmacology that deals with the adverse effects of chemicals on living environments, from human cells to diverse ecosystems.

Divisions of Pharmacology

The discipline of pharmacology can be divided into many sub-disciplines each with a specific concentration.

1. Clinical pharmacology

Clinical pharmacology is the basic science of pharmacology with an extra focus on the application of pharmacological principles and methods in the medical clinic and towards patient care and well being.

2. Neuropharmacology

Neuropharmacology is the study of the effects of medication on central and peripheral nervous system functioning.

3. Psychopharmacology

Psychopharmacology, also known as behavioural pharmacology, is the study of the impact of drugs on the brain (psychology), the observation of altered behaviours of the body and mind, and how molecular experiences occur and are manifest in a measurable behavioural form. Psychopharmacology is a linking field that studies the behavioural effects of psychoactive drugs. It includes approaches and techniques from neuropharmacology, animal behaviour and behavioural neuroscience, and is interested in the behavioural and neurobiological mechanisms of action of psychoactive drugs. Another goal of behavioural pharmacology is to develop animal behavioural models to screen chemical compounds with therapeutic potentials. People in this area (called behavioural pharmacologists) usually use small animals (e.g. rodents) to research psychotherapeutic medications such as antipsychotics, antidepressants and anxiolytics, and substance addiction such as tobacco, cocaine, and methamphetamine.

4. Cardiovascular pharmacology

Cardiovascular pharmacology is the study of the effects of drugs on the entire cardiovascular system, including the heart and blood vessels.

5. Pharmacogenetics

Pharmacogenetics is clinical testing of genetic differences among people that causes a difference in the way different patients respond to drugs.

6. Pharmacogenomics

Pharmacogenomics is the application of genomic technologies to create new drugs and further categorization of older drugs.

7. Pharmacoepidemiology

Pharmacoepidemiology is the study of the effects of drugs in large numbers of people.

8. Systems pharmacology

Systems pharmacology is the coding system principles in the field of pharmacology.

9. Posology

Posology is the study of how medicines are administered in dosages. This depends upon various factors including age, climate, weight, sex, elimination rate of drug, genetic polymorphism and time of administration.

10. Pharmacognosy

Pharmacognosy is a branch of pharmacology dealing majorly with the composition, use, and development of medicinal substances of biological origin and especially medicinal substances gotten from plants.

11. Dental pharmacology

Dental pharmacology relates to the study of drugs commonly used in the treatment of teeth disease.

12. Toxicology

Toxicology is the study of the adverse effects, molecular targets, and categorisation of drugs or any chemical substance in excess (including those useful in lower doses).

13. Environmental pharmacology

Environmental pharmacology is a new discipline. Its Focus is majorly to understand gene-environment interaction, drug-environment interaction and toxin-environment interaction. There is a close collaboration between environmental science and medicine in addressing these issues, as healthcare itself can be a cause of environmental damage or remediation. Human health and ecology are intimately related. Demand for more pharmaceutical products may place the public at risk through the destruction of species. The entry of chemicals and drugs into the water bodies is a more serious concern today. In addition, the production of some illegal drugs pollutes the drinking water supply by releasing carcinogens. This field is intricately linked with Public Health fields.

14. Theoretical pharmacology

Theoretical pharmacology is a relatively new and fast-growing field of research activity in which many of the techniques of computational chemistry, in particular computational quantum chemistry and the method of molecular mechanics, are proving to be of great value. Theoretical pharmacologists seek to rationalize the relationship between the action of a given drug, as measured experimentally, and its structural features as obtained from computer experiments. They try to find the relationship between structure and activity. In addition, on the basis of the composition of a given organic molecule, the theoretical pharmacologist attempts to forecast the biological action of proposed products of the same general nature as current ones. Most notably, the goal is to anticipate completely new types of drugs, tailored to particular purposes.

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