Pharmacology is an ancient subject, and for as long as people have suffered illnesses, we have tried to use the substances around us or manufacture new products to help us feel better. Some substances have been more successful than others. The emergence of scientific methods gave us a way of assessing how well these medicines work rather than base our judgement on hearsay or personal opinions. Science helped us to remove superstition and personal bias from our understanding of the benefits medicines can give us. Modern medicine relies on a very large pharmacopoeia, i.e. a wide range of drugs to use as tools to treat patients. Pharmacology, which is the science that addresses the formulation, administration, processing within the body and medical effects of drug substances is therefore a cornerstone of contemporary medical education and practice.
In these activities, we hope you will learn a bit about the historical context of pharmacology, how the effects of drugs are found and how they can be combined to be used as therapies for diseases. By understanding how they work and how we can use them (dosing) we can also find out where they won't work and discover how they might have unintended consequences (side effects).
• Rang and Dale’s Pharmacology, Elsevier, 8th edition (2016) – A widely available and good quality introductory textbook
• https://bnf.nice.org.uk/ - British National Formulary – This is used as a reference by doctors all the time to check doses and interactions and combinations recommended for treating certain diseases!