Pharmacology involves a lot more than medicine and drugs. Individuals working as pharmacologists take time to study the effects certain chemicals have on living organisms and determine how they could convert them for human use.
Working in pharmacology can help save lives and improve overall healthcare. Read on to find out more about the role of pharmacology in healthcare. We also explore some challenges in this sector and the future advancements that will revolutionize this industry.
What is Pharmacology?
Pharmacology is the scientific study of how drugs interact and act within a biological ecosystem. The field looks at the drug’s makeup, which includes the properties of the drug, how it’s made, and how it reacts within a living organism.
Pharmacologists also examine how certain drugs react with other substances and determine what outcome they would get from that interaction.
Although pharmacy and pharmacology may sound similar, they are different fields. Pharmacology studies the effects of medicines on the body, while pharmacy studies every aspect of the use and preparation of drugs. Pharmacologists can study for a higher pharmacy degree online, like the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) offered by the University of Findlay. Once graduated from this highly reputable institution, Pharmacists will be able to administer and track patients’ drug intake and progress, helping to increase their lifespan and quality of life.
The role of pharmacology in healthcare
Pharmacology plays a critical role in healthcare; without it, we can’t tell the difference between chemical and therapeutic substances. Here are more reasons why this branch of science matters.
The effects of drugs on the human body
Pharmacology explores specific drugs’ physiological, biochemical, and molecular effects on the body. Within pharmacology, there is pharmacodynamics, which also examines how long the drug’s action occurs. That information helps these scientists determine the drug concentration and develop a desired dosage.
Additionally, the study identifies possible side effects of the drug and its benefits for healing the body.
Biological systems also react differently to chemical substances. Pharmacokinetics examines how the body absorbs, distributes, metabolizes, and excretes drugs. Applying pharmacology in healthcare ensures effective and safe drug management when handling patients.
Practical drug development approach
Clinical pharmacology entails pharmacokinetics, pharmacogenomics, and pharmacodynamics. All these parameters examine the relationship between the dosage and its effects. Additionally, these parameters evaluate the variability in response to a drug and seek answers as to why some people experience adverse effects compared to others.
Formulating medication that works requires you to learn how cellular targets react to drugs and what disrupts the active chemicals. Understanding a drug’s disposition and action allows drug developers to create effective and safe medicines for patients.
Healthcare providers can also determine the correct dosage, identify a drug’s side effects, and provide treatment.
Prevention of diseases
Pharmacology has pharmacotherapy as a branch. Pharmacotherapy is the treatment of disease with medication.
Clinical pharmacologists study how certain drugs react with a human’s biological system and determine which drugs can be used to prevent and treat diseases. Science also examines how a drug’s dosage and concentration relate to disease progression.
Pharmacology also employs nanotechnology, a technology used to enhance a drug’s bioavailability and solubility. That makes it easy to create drugs that target the diseased cells with minimal damage to the healthy cells. Nano particulate drug delivery systems like cancer therapy and gene therapy are possible because of this technology. Integrating nanotechnology with pharmacology has improved the therapeutic outcome of various drugs, which has led to improved quality of life and high patient survival.
Challenges facing pharmacology
Some of the key challenges facing pharmacology include:
A disease’s pathophysiology
Pharmacologists need to understand a disease’s pathophysiology to develop an effective drug to treat the condition. Scientists are finding it hard to comprehend the pathophysiology of some disorders, like nervous system disorders, which is why pharmacists are so necessary to further research in medical blind spots. That has made it challenging to develop a suitable target to treat these disorders effectively.
Fortunately, disease analysis at the biochemical and structural levels and continued advancements in metabolomics can help overcome this challenge.
Lack of biomarkers
Scientists and pharmacologists use biomarkers to determine how the body responds to the treatment of a disease. Nonetheless, these professionals must deal with the need for validated therapeutic and diagnostic biomarkers for disease.
That makes it challenging for them to understand the disease’s pathophysiology and determine whether the drugs will be effective.
The only way to address this is through imaging and metabolomics advancements to ensure more validated biomarkers are available.
Some pre-clinical trials require any new drug compound to be tested on a live animal to establish its safety. Animal testing assumes that human systems are similar to those of animals. Although they may share similarities in their cells, organ systems, and biology, they also have other differences.
Scientists have discovered that certain drug compounds work well in animals, but when tested on humans, they were found to have adverse side effects, while others didn’t. That limits animal testing, as pharmacologists can’t fully determine a new drug’s safety profile by testing it on an animal.
Future of pharmacology
The future of pharmacology looks promising, especially with the introduction of artificial intelligence. Scientists and pharmacologists employ AI in pharmacological research to identify lead compounds and help with epidemiology. The AI industry is expected to grow and branch into things like disease diagnosis, clinical trials, and drug discovery.
Researchers are hoping that in the future, new disease endotypes and phenotypes will help determine new pharmacological targets and identify patients who are at risk for adverse drug reactions.
Pharmacology plays a critical role in modern medicine and the healthcare industry. The field has plenty of opportunities for anyone interested in pursuing a rewarding healthcare career. With a projected job growth of 6% by 2029, a major in pharmacology will equip you with knowledge of drug discovery, drug development, and drug testing to help you save lives and improve healthcare outcomes.