pharmacology

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pharmacology,

study of the changes produced in living animals by chemical substances, especially the actions of drugsdrugs,
substances used in medicine either externally or internally for curing, alleviating, or preventing a disease or deficiency. At the turn of the century only a few medically effective substances were widely used scientifically, among them ether, morphine, digitalis,
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, substances used to treat disease. Systematic investigation of the effects of drugs based on animal experimentation and the use of isolated and purified active substances developed in the mid-19th cent. Pharmacologists, emphasizing the mechanisms by which drugs act, draw on the disciplines of physiology, pathology, biochemistry, and bacteriology. Pharmacology embraces a number of sciences, including pharmacodynamics (the study of the action of drugs on a living body), therapeutics (use of drugs and method of administration in treatment for disease), materia medica (study of the source, composition, characteristics, and preparation of drugs), toxicology (the study of poisonspoison,
any agent that may produce chemically an injurious or deadly effect when introduced into the body in sufficient quantity. Some poisons can be deadly in minute quantities, others only if relatively large amounts are involved.
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 and their action and of methods of treating poisoning), pharmaceutical chemistry (chemistry in relation to drugs), and pharmacypharmacy,
art of compounding and dispensing drugs and medication. The term is also applied to an establishment used for such purposes. Until modern times medication was prepared and dispensed by the physician himself. In the 18th cent.
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 (the preparation and dispensing of drugs for medical use).

Pharmacology

 

the biomedical science of drugs and their effects on the body. The term “pharmacology” is also applied to the science of physiologically active substances in general.

The first systematic information on drugs was presented in the Egyptian papyrus of Ebers (17th century B.C.). Approximately 300 medicinal plants were mentioned by Hippocrates, and detailed descriptions of such plants were given by the ancient Greek physicians Theophrastus (372–287 B.C.) and Dioscorides (first century A.D). The phrase “materia medica,” which appeared in the title of Dioscorides’ work, was used until the 19th century as a name for the science of drugs that came to be called pharmacology. Of great importance for the development of pharmacology was the material on medicinal plants contained in the works of Galen, Avicenna, and Paracelsus.

The foundation of modern experimental pharmacology was laid by R. Buchheim of Dorpat in the mid-19th century. Others who contributed to the field included O. Schmiedeberg, G. Meyer, W. Straub, U. Trendelenburg, and K. Schmidt of Germany; A. Cashney and A. Clark of Great Britain; D. Bovet of France; C. Heymans of Belgium; and O. Levi of Austria.

In Russia information on medicinal plants was presented in various herbals between the 16th and 18th centuries. The first Russian pharmacopoeia, the Pharmacopoea Rossica, appeared in 1778. In the second half of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century important contributions to the development of experimental pharmacology were made by V. I. Dybkovskii, A. A. Sokolovskii, I. P. Pavlov, and N. P. Kravkov.

Contemporary pharmacology is divided into several fields of interest: pharmacodynamics, or the study of the effect of drugs on the body; pharmacokinetics, or the study of the absorption, distribution, and biotransformation of drugs in the body; and molecular pharmacology, or the study of the biochemical mechanisms of drug action. Clinical pharmacology deals with the study of drugs in clinical practice and with their final approval.

In the USSR a distinction is usually made between general and special pharmacology. General pharmacology studies the mechanisms of drug action: the primary pharmacological reactions and the effect on enzymes, biological membranes, electric potentials, and receptor mechanisms. It examines the general patterns of the effects of drugs on the organism in relation to the following: distribution, biotransformation (for example, oxidation, reduction, hydrolysis, deamination, and acetylation), routes of entry (administered orally, subcutaneously, intravenously, by inhalation, or in other ways), and excretion (by the kidneys or intestines). General pharmacology is also concerned with the type of drug action, which may be local, reflex, or resorptive, and with the conditions that determine the action of drugs. In addition to sex, age, weight, genetic characteristics, and the general condition of the organism, these conditions include such characteristics of the drugs as chemical structure, physicochemical properties, doses and concentrations, duration of action, and frequency of use. General pharmacology is also concerned with the principles of combined drug therapy and deals with the search for new drugs and with the problems of drug standardization and classification.

Special pharmacology is concerned with individual drugs as classified by their main effect into such groups as anesthetics, soporifics, neuroleptics, anticonvulsives, stimulants, and cardiovascular, antibacterial, antiparasitic, and antineoplastic drugs.

Pharmacology is closely allied with other disciplines that study drugs, particularly toxicology, pharmacy (including pharmacognosy) and pharmaceutical chemistry, which is the science of the synthesis, structure, and chemical properties of drugs. The use of the experimental method unites pharmacology with physiology and pathology. In addition, pharmacology shares many concerns with biochemistry and biology.

In the USSR, research in pharmacology is conducted at various institutes—including the Institute of Pharmacology of the Academy of Medical Sciences of the USSR, the S. Ordzhonikidze All-Union Scientific Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Chemistry in Moscow, and the Kharkov Scientific Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Chemistry—and in pharmacology subdepartments of higher educational institutions of medicine and pharmacy. Pharmacology is taught in medical and pharmacy institutes and schools.

The principal research centers abroad are the institutes of pharmacology in Kraków, Prague, and Berlin and the pharmacology laboratories at the medical center in Bethesda (USA), the institute at Mill Hill (London), the Higher Institute of Health (Rome), the Max Planck Institute (Frankfurt), and the Caroline Institute (Stockholm). Pharmacology is taught in appropriate departments of medical faculties at universities.

The principal periodicals published in the USSR and abroad are Farmakologiia i toksikologiia (Moscow, since 1938), Acta pharmacologica et toxicologica (Copenhagen, since 1945), Archives internationales de pharmacodynamie et de thérapie (Paris, since 1894), Arzneimittel-Forschung (Aulendorf, since 1951), Biochemical Pharmacology (Oxford, since 1958), British Journal of Pharmacology and Chemotherapy (London, since 1946), Helvetica physiologica et pharmacologica acta (Basel, since 1943), Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (Baltimore, since 1909), and Naunyn-Schmiedebergs Archiv für experimentelle Pathologie und Pharmakologie (Leipzig, since 1925; from 1873 to 1925 known as Archiv für experimentelle Pathologie und Pharmakologie).

The All-Union Scientific Society of Pharmacologists was formed in the USSR in 1960; it belongs to the International Union of Pharmacology, which was established in 1966. International congresses of pharmacologists are held every three years.

REFERENCES

Zakusov, V. V. Farmakologiia, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1966.
Zakusov, V. V. “Farmakologiia v SSSR za 50 let.” Farmakologiia i toksikologiia, 1967, no. 30.
Anichkov, S. V., and M. L. Belen’kii. Uchebnik farmakologii, 3rd ed. Leningrad, 1969.
Al’bert, E. Izbiratel’naia toksichnost’. Moscow, 1971.
Mashkovskii, M. D. Lekarstvennye sredstva, 7th ed., parts 1–2. Moscow, 1972.
Goodman, L. S., and A. Gilman. The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics, 3rd ed. New York, 1965.
Drill, V. A. Pharmacology in Medicine, 4th ed. New York, 1971.
Drug Design, vols.1–3, 5. Edited by E. J. Ariens. New York-London, 1971–75.
V. V. ZAKUSOV
Veterinary pharmacology. Veterinary pharmacology has much in common with medical pharmacology but differs from it in several very important respects. Animals of different species have different reactions to drugs. Some diseases affect only certain species and are controlled by specific drugs. The rapidly growing branch of veterinary medicine called pharmacological prophylaxis offers one of the best ways of preventing infectious, parasitic, and noninfectious diseases. Drugs are used increasingly to stimulate animal growth and productivity and to regulate physiological and biochemical processes in animals. Various combinations of such substances as vitamins, enzymes, antibiotics, tranquilizers, antioxidants, and electrolytes are administered to animals with their food; a careful study is made of the specific action of these combinations and of the effect they have on, for example, livestock production.
Soviet veterinary pharmacology was founded by N. S. Soshest-venskii, who established a school of veterinary pharmacologists. Others who have made a major contribution to the field in the USSR include P. I. Popov, N. P. Govorov, V. A. Skovronskii, S. G. Sidorova, and V. P. Petrov. Research in veterinary pharmacology is conducted in pharmacology and toxicology laboratories of veterinary scientific research institutes and in pharmacology subdepartments of educational institutes. Veterinary pharmacology is taught in pharmacology subdepartments of veterinary and agricultural institutes.

REFERENCES

Mozgov, I. E. “Piat’desiat let sovetskoi veterinarnoi farmakologii.” Veterinariia, 1967, no. 10, pp. 60–65.
Mozgov, I. E. Farmakologiia. Moscow, 1974.
Cherviakov, D. K., P. D. Evdokimov, and A. S. Vishker. Lekarstvennye sredstva v veterinarii. Moscow, 1970.

I. E. MOZGOV

pharmacology

[‚fär·mə′käl·ə·jē]
(chemistry)
The science dealing with the nature and properties of drugs, particularly their actions.

pharmacology

the science of drugs, including their characteristics and uses
www.pharmacy.org
www.pharmweb.net
www.medbioworld.com/home/lists/medications.html
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