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The purpose of this line course is to introduce basic pharmacological concepts that will help you in determining individualised treatment plans. For this it is important to know what a drug does to a patient (pharmacodynamics) and what happens with a drug in the body of the patient (pharmacokinetics).
Pharmacodynamics describe binding of drugs (to receptors, enzymes, channels, etc.) in order to exert their effects, how these effects occurs, and how they can be regulated. The autonomic nervous system is used as an illustration for this concept, since many drugs affect this system.
The absorption, distribution, metabolism, clearance and excretion are the main concepts described quantitatively in pharmacokinetics. These processes are influenced by many factors like organ dysfunction and disease. In order to make these concepts intelligible and their practical application clear, calculations (e.g. adjusting doses, calculating infusion rates) will be practised.

Course objectives

As a result of this module the student:

  1. Can describe how drugs act biologically (pharmacodynamics).
  2. Understands mechanisms of a drug action in (patho)physiological context.
  3. Can describe how medicines are handled by the body (pharmacokinetics)
  4. Can apply pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic principles in simple patient cases.
  5. Can make pharmacokinetic calculations regarding absorption, distribution, clearance, excretion, and drug dosing.
  6. Can classify adverse effects of drugs.
  7. Can identify the nature of drug-related problems.
  8. Has a basic understanding of the process of drug development in history.
  9. Can apply scientific information from guidelines and drug formularies.
  10. Can justify drug choice for an individual patient considering patient / disease specific characteristics.
  11. Can write a therapeutic plan according to the 6STEP method for an individual patient with a simple medical problem in a clear, concise, and organized manner.
  12. Can cooperate with fellow students in solving study assignments in a workgroup setting.

Mode of instruction

Various teaching methods will be used in this module: ordinary lectures, seminars, self-study assignments, E-learning (Teaching Resource Centre).

Assessment method

You are expected to be able to receive a 100% score on the comprehensive final exam. In order to ensure success on the final, you are given multiple opportunities to practice throughout the pharmacology course. Students that perform well throughout the module and participate actively with the quizzes during the workgroups are likely to achieve this course. It is your own responsibility to monitor your progress during the pharmacology module. You are encouraged to seek advice and assistance from the module coordinator, module committee, or workgroup tutors as soon as you encounter any difficulties in the module.

The distribution of course points will be as follows:
Quizzes (average grade from 3 different quizzes) 25%
Final exam 75%
Total 100%

Additionally to the final exam you are required to turn in a 6STEP therapeutic plan of the patient case in Theme 10. If you do not send in your 6STEP before the deadline, you will not receive your final grade of this module. Read more about this assignment in Theme 10 and on Blackboard.


Reading: To enhance understanding of in-class lectures and discussions, and to keep pace during the pharmacology module, you should read the assigned sections prior to each scheduled meeting period. These will include:

  • Module book (available via Blackboard)

  • Teaching Resource Centre (TRC) pharmacology database (TRC website or TRC App)
    Alternate required readings (if used) will be posted on Blackboard

Alternate readings: some of you may wish to utilize the following resources to enhance your understanding of the material. These include:

  • Rang & Dale’s Pharmacology, 7th Edition 2011

  • Farmacologie, 4e druk, Sitsen et al.

  • Algemene Farmacologie, 2e druk, van Ree en Breimer


“Dr. Robert Rissmann”