What is Pharmacology?
Pharmacology (Gr. pharmakon, drug; logy, discourse, study)
Pharmacology is the study of drugs – what they are, how they work and what they do. It includes the study of the manner in which the function of living tissues and organisms is modified by chemical substances and the study of the effect of chemical agents on living processes.
Pharmacology is commonly subdivided into pharmacodynamics (the biological effects of drugs) and pharmacokinetics (absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion), also expressed as, respectively, the effects of drugs on the body and the effect of the body on drugs. (from A Dictionary of Pharmacology and Clinical Drug Evaluation, by Desmond Lawrence and John Carpenter).
The subject is immensely broad and covers large areas of physiology, biochemistry and toxicology, all of which are concerned with the effects of chemicals on living organisms.
Three important aspects of pharmacology are:
- The use of drugs to study physiological mechanisms
- The use of drugs in medicine
- Understanding the biological effects of environmental chemicals