SHE Level 2
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M3B226354
Module Leader David Welsh
School School of Health and Life Sciences
Subject Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  • A (September start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

SCQF 8 Physiology or similar subject

Summary of Content

The module provides a sound understanding of the fundamentals of pharmacology and to practical laboratory pharmacology. The content focuses on drugs affecting the autonomic nervous system, cardio vascular system, renal, gastrointestinal and respiratory 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 respiratory system. Respiratory stimulants & depressants; anti-inflammatory 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. Mediators of the autonomic nervous system/ motor nerves. Drugs affecting noradrenergic transmission. Adrenoceptors: subtypes and transduction mechanisms. Drugs acting on adrenoceptors. Drugs affecting cholinergic transmission. Cholinoceptors: subtypes and transduction mechanisms. Drugs acting on cholinoceptors. 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, H2 antagonists; inflammatory bowel disease and treatments

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the module the students should be able to 1. Demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of basic principles of drug action. 2. Discuss the mechanism of action, therapeutic uses and clinical side effects of various classes of drugs.3. Analyse and interpret data from pharmacological experiments.4. Use a range of core pharmacological techniques to generate experimental data.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

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

Indicative Reading

Rang, H.P. Ritter, J.M., Flower, R.J., Henderson, G. (2019) Rang & Dale's Pharmacology. 9th edition, Churchill-Livingstone. Neal, M.J.(2020) Medical Pharmacology at a glance. 9 th edition, Wiley Blackwell.

Transferrable Skills

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

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Tutorials (FT) 13.00
Independent Learning (FT) 151.00
Lectures (FT) 20.00
Practicals (FT) 12.00
Assessment (FT) 4.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Exam 01 2.00 60.00 35% MCQ and Essay Questions
Course Work 01 n/a 40.00 35% Oral Presentation