SHE Level 3
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M3B220853
Module Leader David Welsh
School School of Health and Life Sciences
Subject Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  • A (September start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Physiology at level 2 or equivalent. The teaching team assumes that students taking this module already have fundamental knowledge and understanding of human anatomy, physiology and the organisation and functioning of the main body systems.

Summary of Content

The module provides an understanding of the basic principles of pharmacology and examines the effects of drugs on different body systems.


Fundamentals of pharmacology . Mechanisms of action: non-specific physico-chemical mechanisms. Molecular targets: enzymes Ionotropic receptors; G-protein-coupled receptors; Drug-receptor interactions: efficacy & affinity. Absorption, distribution, metabolism & excretion (ADME): routes of administration. Drug discovery & development. Historical; target identification; preclinical development. Clinical Trials: design; sample size; placebo effect; benefit & risk. Critical appraisal of clinical trial data. Drugs affecting the cardiovascular system . Systemic arterial hypertension and treatment; atherosclerosis and lipoprotein metabolism. Drugs affecting the heart; overview of normal cardiac rhythm, ion currents of the cardiac action potential. Drugs affecting the respiratory system. Respiratory stimulants & depressants; anti-infla mmatory drugs including H1 antagonists, glucocorticoids, leukotriene inhibitors and possible future anti-inflammatory agents; bronchodilators including e22 agonists, anti-cholinergic drugs, phosphodiesterase inhibitors and possible future bronchodilators. Drugs affecting the skeletal neuromuscular junction. Drugs affecting acetylcholine release, depolarizing and non-depolarising blockers, acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, drugs inhibiying calcium release in skeletal muscle. Drugs affecting the cardiovascular system. Lipoprotein metabolism, atherosclerosis and treatment; drugs affecting the heart: overview of normal cardiac rhythm, arrhythmias and drug therapies; angina and nitric oxide donors; overview of haemostasis, anti-platelet, anti-coagulant and thrombolytic drugs; review of hypertension and anti-hypertensive drugs. Drugs affecting the kidney. Overview of renal function, renin-angiotensin-aldosterone pathway, anti-hypertensives and diuretics Drugs affecting gastrointestinal tract. Review of GI function, GORD, gastritis and peptic ulcers, proton pump inhibitors, H 2 antagonists; inflammatory bowel disease and treatments Endocrine system. Obesity, diabetes mellitus causes and treatments; drugs in the treatment of thyroid disorders; treatment of growth hormone disorders; disorders of the adrenal glands Reproduction/contraception. The Seminar Programme. The seminars will provide a forum in which problems experienced in the lecture programme can be explored, but also introduce topical and controversial topics in pharmacology for discussion and debate. Topics covered include: how to appraise clinical trial data, use of alternative therapies (medicinal herbs), placebo effect and ethical principles

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module the student should be able to:1. Demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of basic principles of drug action2. Apply these principles to an understanding of the therapeutic uses and clinical side effects of drugs 3. Critically analyse the literature in these areas

Teaching / Learning Strategy

A variety of teaching and learning strategies will be used including lectures, tutorials and seminar sessions. The emphasis will be on participative modes of learning, not only in tutorials but also in lectures.

Indicative Reading

Rang, H. P., Dale, M, Ritter, J. M. & Moore, P.K. (2007) Pharmacology. 6 th edition, Churchill-Livingstone. Domenico, S. (2008) Flesh and bones of medical pharmacology "The Flesh and Bones of Medical Pharmacology". Elsevier/ Mosby. Kalant, H., Grant D.M. & Mitchell, J. (2007). Principles of Medical Pharmacology. 7 th Edition. Elsevier. Page, C., Curtis, M., Walker, M. & Hoffman, B. (2006) Integrated Pharmacology. 3 rd edition. Mosby. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins (2005) Clinical pharmacology made incredibly easy. Martini, F.H. (2006) Fundamentals of anatomy and physiology. 7 th edition. Benjamin Cummings.

Transferrable Skills

The student will acquire a number of transferable skills such as: written communication; oral communication; use of Internet Websites, logical planning and undertaking of experiments; independent study skills; teamwork. This module will enhance the following transferable skills: information retrieval, team work and oral and written communication.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Independent Learning (FT) 159.00
Tutorials (FT) 6.00
Lectures (FT) 22.00
Seminars (FT) 6.00
Assessment (FT) 7.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Course Work 01 n/a 50.00 35% essay and presentation 1500 words
Exam 01 2.00 50.00 35% MCQ and essay questions