cod. 03081

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

Integrated course unit module: CLINICAL NEUROPSYCHOLOGY

Learning objectives

At the end of the course, students should know the main characteristics of psychotropic medicaments, as well as of the most common substances of abuse, so that they could predict their pharmacologic effects, when applied in the clinical settings and/or when taken as recreational drugs. All these things are crucial, when considering that the treatment of central nervous system diseases should be multidisciplinary, where psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy coexist as non-alternative, but complementary options.


Course unit content

The course describes the main features of psychotropic drugs and how these drugs act and affect human behavior.

Full programme

1. Psichotropic and neurotropic drugs. An overview.
2. Actions of psychotropic drugs. a) Access of drugs to the central nervous system; b) Mechanisms of action at the neuronal level; c) Variability in the response to psychotropic drugs: desensitization, tolerance, physical and psychological dependence.
3. Main classes of psychotropic drugs: Sedative-hypnotics, anxiolytics, antipsychotics, antimaniacals, antidepressants.
4). Psychostimulants of the central nervous system, with reference to cocaine and congeners, caffeine and nicotine.
5). Psychodyslectic drugs (psychotomimetics).
6). Neuropsychopharmacology of morphine and opiate analgesics.


Students can refer to textbooks for postgraduate courses, such as:

BG Katzung: Basic & clinical Pharmacology, Twelfth edition, Section V: Drugs acting on the central nervous system, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc, 2015.

Clark MA, Finkel JAR, Whalen, K. Le basi della farmacologia. Zanichelli, second edition.

F. Rossi, V. Cuomo, C. Riccardi. Farmacologia. Principi di base e applicazioni terapeutiche. Ed. Minerva Medica, edition IV.

Goodman & Gilman
Le basi farmacologiche della terapia
Tredicesima edizione
Zanichelli 2019

Slides of lessons are available at the end of the course.

Teaching methods

The course will be held through lectures. In case the COVID-related emergence continues, frontal lessons will proceed remotely through the Teams platform (for instructions, see Lessons will be carried out with the aid of iconographic material collected in PowerPoint files that, at the end of the course, will be made available to students on the Elly site at the course pages.

Assessment methods and criteria

Written examination, multiple choice test.
In case of the persistence of the health emergency, the exams will be conducted remotely, as follows:
structured written test conducted remotely (by Teams and Elly). The test consists of 20 multiple choice questions on the course contents (reference texts + documents uploaded to Elly during the course). There is no penalty for incorrect answers. See the site of the course coordinator, prof. Carlo Marchesi, for further details.
The final mark, reported directly on Esse3, will correspond to the arithmetic average of the assessments obtained in the written test.
Students with SLD / BSE must first contact Le Eli-che: support for students with disabilities, D.S.A., B.E.S. (

Other information

Learning objectives (in relation to the Dublin descriptors)
1 Knowledge and understanding. Students will be teached about the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of the main psychotropic drugs, as well as signs and symptoms that develop when drugs are administered to (or taken by) human beings.
2 Applying knowledge and understanding. Students will be able to apply the knowledge gained in the functional context of the central nervous system.
3 Making judgments. Students will gain the concept of drug treatment as a complement (and not as an alternative) to psychotherapy (and vice-versa).
4 Communication. Students will acquire the knowledge and terminology to describe behavioural and cognitive actions of drugs.
5 Lifelong learning skills. Students should be able to use the acquired knowledge to understand and interpret data in the literature relative of drugs acting at the central nervous system and their cognitive and behavioral effects.