Module Overview


This module seeks to introduce and develop a new subject area, pharmacology. It is intended to provide a thorough understanding of the fate of pharmacological agents in a mammalian system by providing a detailed insight into selected topics including phases of drug deposition, drug development, drug action, along with pharmacokinetics. The relevance of this topic will be developed in relation to drug metabolism and elimination. The area of measurement in pharmacology will be discussed in light of the range of new and emerging analytical techniques and thus, provide the ideal interface between these two related areas.

Module Code

PHAR H4001

ECTS Credits


*Curricular information is subject to change

Review of Physiology:

Cell membrane, systematic physiology (vascular system, GIT, liver, lungs, kidney etc).

Translocation of drug molecules:

Movement of drugs across cellular barriers - Diffusion through lipid / carrier-mediated transport / partition into body fat / binding to plasma proteins.

Absorption of drugs:

Alimentary canal - Sublingual / oral / bioavailability; Other routes - Rectal, eye, cutaneous, inhalation, injection; Drug-drug interaction.

Distribution of drugs:

Body fluid compartments - Volume of distribution / extracellular compartment / throughout body water.

Drug metabolism

Phase I and II, enzymes, inducers and inhibitors, predicting metabolites and metabolic pathways.

Removal of drugs:

Drug metabolism - Phase I and II / first pass metabolism / induction & inhibition of microsomal enzymes / pharmacologically active drug metabolites / activation - deactivation / compound case studies / internal & external factors affecting metabolism; Renal excretion of drugs and metabolites - Glomerular filtration / tubular secretion and reabsorption / diffusion across renal tubule / billary excretion and circulation; Multi-drug resistance – p-glycoprotein / topisomerases / lung resistance related proteins.

Drug Action:

Receptors, dose-response curves, agonist effect durves, competitive and non-antogonists, partial agonists etc. Case studies of clinical agents acting as agonists or antagoinists. Case studies of drugs: small molecules and biotechnology products.


Systemic clearance / rate constant for elimination / half-life / dosing schedules / effects of variation in rate of absorption / protein binding / sample calculations; Special drug delivery systems - Sustained release / pro-drugs / antibody-drug conjugates / liposomes / lipid delivery vehicle / cyclodextrins / gene therapy / drug targeting; Drug actions - Receptors / properties / measurements / receptor-effect linkage / receptors and disease.

Drug development:

Drug discovery, in vitro drug development, in vivo pre-clinical studies, phased clinical trials, patents, role of ethics, regulatory bodies, case studies of drug development.

Measurement in pharmacology:

Bioassays - General principles / design / phased clinical trials / measurement of toxicity (therapeutic index) / case study;Chemical assay methods - Radioimmunoassay / Chromatographic / Mass spec. / Spectrometry and fluorimetry.

Module Content & Assessment
Assessment Breakdown %
Other Assessment(s)30
Formal Examination70