Pharmacology is not a term that is used regularly in everyday conversation yet without the prescription medicines we may take everyday would not be available or even exist. Pharmacology is important for this very reason. It helps us live with illness, helps cure it and helps discover whether a drug is harmful or not.
Pharmacology describes the study of drugs and their effects on the human body. The term ‘drug’ is used to describe all psycho-active drugs which includes alcohol and even petrol. This includes studying how a drug affects the physical and mental well-being of a person, how the drug is absorbed and the different ways of administering it.
Psycho-pharmacology is more specifically focused on mind-altering or psycho-active drugs. This means the drugs can alter people’s moods, thoughts and/or behaviour due to the effect the drug has on the way the brain functions. Some psycho-active drugs that are commonly used are alcohol, nicotine and cannabis. They are used widely by young people and older people in spite of the well-studied negative effects they have on the body.
The difference between pharmacists and those who specialise in pharmacology is that pharmacists know how drugs can affect the body, but they won’t necessarily understand drug use prevalent in the younger population of our society. In order to truly understand youth drug use, a more technical knowledge is required. Some of the key issues in pharmacology are intoxication, tolerance, physical and psychological dependence and drug interactions.
Intoxication, for obvious reasons, is an issue because of the harmful effects it can have on a person’s body but also how it can cause them to take risks due to the inhibited ability to make decisions.
Tolerance and dependence are especially important to research at the moment because each person has unique bodies and factors that can determine whether they will become addicted to a substance or not. Some widely prescribed drugs are addictive and there is an opioid overdose crisis especially in the United States. It is the sad reality of drugs but also shows the importance of pharmacology, and why pharmacologists must use their research to make international change in health care as they could literally save lives. It can be worrying to think that the pills that are meant to make us better can kill us, but unfortunately it is the reality.
Drug interactions are another important topic as it can be extremely dangerous to mix certain drugs due to the different ways a drug affects the body. For example, paracetamol and ibuprofen should not be mixed. This is especially important to know if you are a parent medicating your child to relieve a fever.
It is clear that this research should be done as much in depth as possible as it can save people’s lives by reducing certain risks to people’s health. If you want to find out more about Thorough QT Studies and how pharmacology science works in our current society, you can visit https://www.richmondpharmacology.com/specialist-services/tqt. Hopefully after reading this you have more of an idea of what pharmacology is and why it is important.