cod. 00351

Academic year 2023/24
2° year of course - Second semester
- Cristina POZZOLI
Academic discipline
Farmacologia (BIO/14)
Attività formative affini o integrative
Type of training activity
48 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

1. Knowledge and understanding. The course is finalized to the knowledge of pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of the main drugs classes acting at the nervous system, smooth and skeletal muscle, cardiovascular, respiratory and gastrointestinal systems. Such notions will allow the student to better understand the basic biochemical and biomolecular events featuring living beings and how exogenous substances modify them. Particular attention will be paid to the knowledge of mechanisms involved in cell excitability, cell proliferation and tissue repair.

2. Ability to apply knowledge and understanding. Students will be stimulated to elaborate the acquired notions in the physiological context of the in whole animal and in vitro biological activity of the preparations or isolated cells. Such knowledge will focus on signs and/or symptoms that develop following the administration/intake of medicines, and to assess the effects they produce.

3. Making judgments. The student will acquire the knowledge for future planning of study protocols aimed at the characterization of new molecules, once the graduate will enter the world of work.

4. Communication skills. Students will acquire the terminology to describe objectively the actions of drugs and biomathematician models currently applied to quantify the effect of drugs on the different organs and systems.

5. Learning ability. Students should be able to use the acquired knowledge to understand and re-elaborate the literature regarding drugs, the use them in bio-pharmacologic field for research purposes.


Adequate bases of biology, chemistry, biochemistry, physiology, anatomy.

Course unit content

The course is aimed at understanding the effects of experimental as well as therapeutic drugs and their use in whole animals and/or on isolated organs or cells in culture for research purposes

Full programme

1) General Pharmacology
Concept of drug, origin of drugs, nomenclature and pharmaceutical forms.
General principles of pharmacokinetics. Absorption, routes of administration of drugs, distribution, metabolism and elimination of drugs. Development of new drugs: preclinical studies and stages of clinical trials. Monoclonal antibodies, siRNA, miRNA, antisense oligonucleotides, vaccines, nanodrugs.
Principles of pharmacodynamics: mechanism of action of drugs and molecular targets. Drugs acting at receptor level: concepts of agonism, antagonism, inverse agonism and biomolecular models descriptive of the action of drugs.
Factors that vary the response to drugs: genetic and pathological factors. Concept of pharmacogenetics and pharmacogenomics.
Drug toxicity: predictable and unpredictable adverse drug reaction. Allergy and idiosyncrasy. Drug-drug interactions of clinical relevance. Physical and chemical drug incompatibilities. Interactions between drugs and foods, supplements and phyto-pharmaceuticals.
2) Special and applied pharmacology
Drugs acting at the autonomic nervous system: ganglion stimulants and blockers, adrenergic agonists and antagonists; cholinergic agonist and antagonists. Drugs affecting somatic nervous system: depolarizing e non-depolarizing agents. Botulinum toxin and direct acting skeletal muscle relaxant.
Drug acting at the central nervous system: general anesthetics and adjuvants. Drugs affecting dopaminergic neurotransmission: Parkinson's drugs.
Opioid analgesics.
Pharmacology of voltage-gated Sodium channels: local anesthetics, antiarrhythmics, anticonvulsants.
Pharmacology of voltage-gated Calcium channels: calcium channel blockers.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), steroids and immunosuppressants: focus on cortisone and congeners.
Pharmacology of the Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone System.
Drugs that alter the structure and activity of blood coagulation: anticoagulant and antiplatelet drugs.
Gastrointestinal medications: antiacids, antisecretory drugs: H2-antagonists and PPIs
Positive inotropic drugs: digital and non-digitalized glycosides.
Lipid-lowering agent. Anti-obesity drugs.


Laurence L. Brunton Randa Hilal-Dandan Björn C. Knollmann: Goodman & Gilman Le basi farmacologiche della terapia Tredicesima edizione, Zanichelli 2019
Karen Whalen "Le basi della Farmacologia" 3° ed. italiana della 7° ed. americana. Zanichelli 2020
Rossi F.; Cuomo V.; Riccardi C. Principi di base e applicazioni terapeutiche. IV Ed. 2022 Edizioni Minerva Medica
Kaztung BG Farmacologia generale e clinica XI ed. italiana della XIV ed. americana. Piccin, 2021

Teaching methods

The course will be held through lectures. Lectures will be supported by slide presentations, which will be available to students on the Elly platform at the course pages; lessons will be open to wide discussion with the participation of the students

Assessment methods and criteria

No interim evaluation is scheduled. The final examination will consist in an oral exam. The student will be asked more questions related to the exam program. The candidate must demonstrate the acquisition of specific terminological knowledge in the field of pharmacology. The inability to answer a question (or the proven inability to provide at least a correct definition of the class of the drug, object of the application, and its mechanism of action) will result in failure to pass the exam.
The student will give an evalaution expressed in marks:
A. Very good knowledge and understanding: corresponding to 30/30.
B. Good knowledge and understanding: corresponding to 27-29/30.
C. Average knowledge and understanding: corresponding to 24-26/30.
D. Sufficient knowledge and understanding: orresponding to 21-23/30.
E. Barely sufficient knowledge and understanding
(with evident pitfalls): corresponding to 18-20/30.
Full marks with laude will be reserved to students exhibiting, together an overal evaluation of 30/30, capability of making judgments, good communication ability and autonomous learning skills.
DSA and BSE students must contact the Welcome and Inclusion University Center in advance:

Other information

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