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Problems written for an Undergraduate Course in Pharmacology:

This is an introductory course in pharmacology taken by 3rd year undergraduate students enrolled in a combined Biology-Pharmacology Coop Programme. The students have had two years of biology at this University but have not taken pharmacology and this is the first small group tutorial based course for most of them. Time has to be spent in getting students to acquire some of the process elements.

The content objectives were described in the course outline as follows:

Pharmacologists are interested in providing answers to two central questions (a) WHAT does the DRUG do to the Body (pharmacodynamics) and (b) WHAT does the BODY do to the DRUG (pharmacokinetics).

To answer the first question, it is necessary to acquire information about: dose-response relations, graded and quantal dose-responses, potency, efficacy, therapeutic and toxic effects of drugs, drug receptors, the logic underlying the classification of receptors, the experimental definition of receptors, agonists (the dimensions of agonism), antagonists, receptor-response coupling and the non-receptor mediated effects of drugs.

To understand what the BODY does to the DRUG, you would need to acquire information about: Absorption, distribution, biotransformation, excretion of drugs, orders of reaction (first, zero orders), routes of administration, different formulations, bioequivalence, definition and measurement of pharmacokinetic variables such as volumes of distribution, elimination rates, half-lives and areas under the curve.

Once you have acquired these items of information you will be able to apply these to specific categories of drugs such as those acting on the autonomic nervous system, central nervous system, chemotherapeutic agents, antifertility drugs.

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