What is pharmacy?

Pharmacy is an art, practice, or profession of preparing, preserving, compounding, and dispensing medical drugs (Webster dictionary). Pharmacy allows healthcare professionals to combine their knowledge of chemistry with their medical knowledge in order to develop drugs for treating different diseases and conditions safely and efficiently. Pharmacology is an incredibly complex subject that deals with every aspect of drug production and distribution - from an initial idea to clinical evaluations and commercial distribution.  

What are drugs?

Drugs are defined as substances which alter normal biological or physiological functions of organisms through chemical reactions. Depending on the type of interaction between target molecules or receptors, drugs can either act as agonists (activators of certain chemical processes) or antagonists (inhibitors of certain chemical processes). Drugs bind to receptors using chemical bonds in an action that is called a pharmacodynamic process. A body also reacts to a drug and changes its structure in an action that is known as pharmacokinetic process.

What is pharmacology?

Pharmacology is a scientific discipline that explores the ways that certain chemical agents interact with living systems through different chemical processes. Pharmacology studies the mechanisms of molecular interaction between drugs and regulatory molecules which activate or inhibit normal physiological or biological processes. Pharmacology is mostly concerned with discovering the chemical characteristics and mechanisms of actions of various chemical substances.  It also involves the study of biological transformations of drugs and their therapeutic and non-therapeutic effects on a body. Finally, pharmacology specialists have the responsibility to find the most efficient ways for producing drugs and making them available to patients.

What is clinical pharmacy?

Clinical pharmacy is a scientific discipline and practice that is concerned with rational medication use. Nowadays, there are a growing number of new drugs emerging on the market as well as new scientific evidence on existing medicines. Clinical pharmacy carefully collects and studies all pieces of information about these drugs in order to assess their safety and efficiency as well as to weigh the risks against the benefits. 


Reference books:


Atkinson, A. J. (2012). Principles of Clinical Pharmacology. London: Academic Press

Barber, P., Blundell, D., & Parkes, J. (2012). Further Essentials Of Pharmacology For Nurses. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill Education.

Brown, T. R., Holdford, D. A., & American Society of Health-System, P. (2010). Introduction to Hospital and Health-System Pharmacy Practice. Bethesda, MD: ASHP.

Chatu, S. (2011). The Hands-on Guide to Clinical Pharmacology. Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell.

Kenakin, T. P. (2006). A Pharmacology Primer: Theory, Applications, and Methods. Amsterdam: Academic Press.

Liu, G., & Cheng, D. (2012). Encyclopedia of Pharmacology Research. New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.

Merrills, J., & Fisher, J. (2006). Pharmacy Law and Practice. Amsterdam: Elsevier Science.

Oxford Handbook of Clinical Pharmacy. (2017). Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/med/9780198735823.001.0001

Pharmacy. (2001). Oxford Illustrated Companion to Medicine (p. 637). Oxford University Press, 2001

Scholefield, D. (2015). Pharmacology Case Studies for Nurse Prescribers. Keswick, United Kingdom: M&K Publishing

Wiffen, P. (2012). Oxford Handbook of Clinical Pharmacy. New York: OUP Oxford.


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