Pharmacology is the branch of medicine concerned with the study of how a drug's actions affect living tissue (Table 19-1). It is important for the physical therapist to have a working knowledge of pharmacology because of the number of drugs currently on the market and the number of physical therapy patients that are likely to have been prescribed medications.
Table 19-1. Pharmacology Terms and Definitions |Favorite Table|Download (.pdf)
Table 19-1. Pharmacology Terms and Definitions
Any substance that can be used to modify a chemical process or processes in the body, for example to treat an illness, relieve a symptom, enhance a performance or ability, or to alter states of mind
The word "drug" is etymologically derived from the Dutch/Low German word "droog," which means "dry," since in the past, most drugs were dried plant parts.
The science of studying both the mechanisms and the actions of drugs, usually in animal models of disease, to evaluate their potential therapeutic value
The mixing and dispensing of drugs
The monitoring of drug prescriptions for appropriateness and the monitoring of patients for adverse drug interactions
The use of chemical agents to prevent, diagnose, and cure disease
The study of how the body absorbs, distributes, metabolizes and eliminates a drug
The study of the biochemical and physiologic effects of drugs and their mechanisms of action at the cellular or organ level
The treatment of a disease or condition with drugs
The study of how variation in human genes leads to variations in our response to drugs and helps direct therapeutics according to a person's genotype
A study of the negative effects of chemicals on living things, including cells, plants, animals, and humans
Some of the beneficial effects of drugs may be enhanced by physical therapy interventions, but in other cases the interventions may have negative consequences.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA):
- Directs the drug development process
- Gives approval for marketing a new drug
- Approves a new use for an older drug
Drug regulation is essential to ensure a safe and effective product. The purposes of drug regulation include
- Balancing the need of the pharmaceutical companies to show a profit with the need for patients to have easy access to effective medications
- To ensure safety and efficacy of the drugs and review product labeling
- To regulate the manufacturing process to ensure stability in the product
- To control public access to drugs that have the potential for abuse
Controlled substances are drugs classified according to their potential for abuse. These drugs are regulated under the Controlled Substances Act, which classifies these compounds into schedules from I to V.