Pharmacology

Course Content from McGraw Hill
Course Number: PHARM103
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This course introduces pharmacology as the study of drugs. The course begins with an explanation of therapeutic and adverse effects, in addition to the basic operation of the nervous system. Several major body systems are covered including the cardiovascular, urinary, respiratory, gastrointestinal, and reproductive systems, with particular emphasis on the endocrine and immune systems. The drugs that are used to treat such conditions are studied with respect to their mechanism of action, therapeutic effects, and adverse effects. Topics include muscle relaxants, anesthetics, pain medication, and psychoactive medications. As students work through this course, their understanding of how drugs impact the body, as intended and otherwise, will improve.

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Course Objectives

After completing this course, students will be able to:

  • Relate drug terminology to their appropriate definitions, and analyze aspects of drug actions, effects, and responses.
  • Evaluate individual variation factors to drug responses, and explain drug interaction, dependence, and abuse.
  • Solve dosage calculation problems involving fractions, decimals, percents, ratios, proportions and using the metric, apothecary, and household measurement systems.
  • Evaluate the contribution of nutrients towards maintaining normal body function, and explain nutrition deficiency, drug and supplement interaction, and effects of supplement overdose.
  • Describe brain structure and functioning, and explain how various parts of the brain regulate organ function.
  • Examine the functioning of the autonomic nervous system and the stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system.
  • Evaluate how drugs increase or reduce the sympathetic, parasympathetic, and autonomic nervous system activities.
  • Explain how muscle relaxants act on the body and assess their effects and adverse effects.
  • Compare and contrast general and local anesthetics with reference to their routes of administration, mechanisms of action, effects, and adverse effects.
  • Evaluate the contribution of opioid analgesics towards pain alleviation, and assess their effects and adverse effects.
  • Assess the types of nonopioid analgesics and their dosages, and relate the effects of these drugs to the treatment of inflammation and gout.
  • Analyze the various types of mental disorders and evaluate the effects of antipsychotic, antianxiety, antidepressant, and antimanic drugs.
  • Relate the structure and function of the heart to the actions and adverse effects of drugs used to treat congestive heart failure and blood pressure.
  • Describe the normal cardiac cycle, common cardiac arrhythmias and actions and adverse effects of drugs used to treat cardiac arrhythmias and angina pectoris.
  • Explain the mechanisms of action of coagulants and anticoagulants, causes and treatment of anemia, the mechanisms and actions of the various hypolipidemic drugs, and their adverse effects.
  • Analyze the mechanisms of hypnotic and psychotomimetic drug action, compare and contrast the effects of barbiturates and benzodiazepines, and examine the potential abuse of psychotomimetic drugs.
  • Analyze the structure and function of the kidneys, their effect on other body systems, and the actions and side effects of diuretics.
  • Relate the nature of allergic reactions to the use of anti allergic and antihistamine drugs, and explain the actions of drugs used to treat respiratory diseases.
  • Examine the actions, adverse effects, and interactions of drugs used to treat hyperacidity, gastroesophageal reflux disease, vomiting, ulcers, simple diarrhea, and laxatives and cathartics.
  • List and explain clinical indications and contraindications, administration, and drug interactions of growth hormones, thyroid hormones, and adrenal steroids.
  • Relate the function of hormones produced in the thyroid and parathyroid glands to their clinical uses.
  • Relate the action of insulin and glucagon to the treatment of diabetes, and explain the aspects of drug administration including adverse effects, contraindications, and drug interactions.
  • Explain how antiseptics and disinfectants work to prevent infection, the actions of antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral drugs in fighting infections, and their adverse effects, contraindications, and interactions.
  • Explain the actions of antiprotozoal and antiparasitic drugs drugs in fighting infections, and explain their adverse effects, contraindications, and interactions.
  • Describe the characteristics and types of cancer, as well as the actions and effects of drugs used to treat them.
TopicTitleSubtopicsObjectives
1Introduction to Pharmacology
  • Basics of Pharmacology
  • Drug Terminology
  • Drug Effects
  • Drug Actions
  • Drug Response
  • Individual Variability and Drug Interaction
  • Drug Dependence and Abuse
  • Pediatric Pharmacology
  • Geriatric Pharmacology
  • Relate the basic drug terminology used in pharmacology to its appropriate definition.
  • Analyze the effects that a drug can produce in the body with specific reference to therapeutic effect, side effect, and toxic effect.
  • Evaluate what happens when a drug is ingested into the human body with reference to the processes of drug absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion.
  • Analyze the response of a drug in the human body with reference to half-life, blood drug levels, and bioavailability.
  • Analyze the factors that influence drug response in individuals and explain how individual variability is different from drug interaction.
  • Distinguish between drug dependence and abuse with respect to the reasons for taking the drug.
  • Evaluate drug actions in pediatric patients and propose appropriate drug administration methods.
  • Evaluate drug actions in elderly patients and propose appropriate drug administration methods.
2Dosage Calculations
  • Fractions, Decimals, and Percents
  • Systems of Measurements
  • Ratios and Proportions
  • Solutions and IV
  • Solve problems using fractions, decimals, and percents.
  • Solve dosage calculation problems using metric, apothecary, and household systems of measurement.
  • Solve dosage calculation problems for solutions and intravenous infusions.
3The Nervous System
  • Autonomic Nervous System Functioning
  • Parasympathetic Stimulation
  • Central Nervous System Structure
  • Organ Function
  • Effects of Drugs on the Sympathetic Nervous System
  • Effects of Drugs on the Parasympathetic Nervous System
  • Effects of Drugs on the Autonomic Ganglia
  • Illustrate the functions of the autonomic nervous system, including the role of neurotransmitters.
  • Examine the effects of parasympathetic stimulation.
  • Examine the structure of the human brain and explain the functions of its various parts.
  • Evaluate the role of norepinephrine and epinephrine on alpha- and beta-adrenergic receptors.
  • Analyze how drugs act to reduce para- and sympathetic activity.
  • Assess the role of acetylcholine on the parasympathetic nervous system.
  • Distinguish between drugs that produce ganglionic stimulation and ganglionic blockade with respect to their effects and adverse effects.
4Psychological Disorders and Drugs
  • Sedative- Hypnotic Drugs
  • Psychotomimetic Drugs
  • Mental Disorders
  • Antipsychotic Drugs
  • Antianxiety Drugs
  • Antidepressants
  • Antimanic Drugs
  • Analyze the role of hypnotic drugs in relation to the sleep cycle and describe their adverse effects.
  • Analyze the mechanisms of action of various psychotomimetic drugs.
  • Compare and contrast barbiturates and benzodiazepines in terms of their mechanisms of action, pharmacokinetics, adverse effects, contraindications, and drug interactions.
  • Compare various psychotomimetic drugs with reference to their tolerance and dependency and treatment for intoxication.
  • Classify mental disorders as psychoses, neuroses, and mood disorders.
  • Distinguish among various antianxiety, antidepressant, and antimanic drugs in terms of mechanisms of action, effects, and adverse effects.
5Common Pain Relief Agents
  • Muscle Activity
  • Muscle Relaxants
  • General Anesthetics
  • Local Anesthetics
  • Administration
  • Excretion
  • Side Effects and Adverse Effects
  • Effects of Opioid Analgesics
  • Other Effects of Opioid Analgesics
  • Adverse Effects and Drug Interactions
  • Nonopioid Analgesics
  • Inflammation
  • Gout
  • Describe the process of muscle relaxation and contraction.
  • Distinguish among the various types of muscle relaxants with reference to their mechanism of action, route of administration, clinical indications, and effects.
  • Relate the various types of muscle relaxants to their adverse effects and drug interactions.
  • Sequence the stages of general anesthesia with specific reference to the action of drug adjuncts.
  • Analyze the mechanism of action of local anesthetics and their effect on the heart.
  • Compare and contrast the routes of administration for various general and local anesthetics.
  • Compare and contrast the ways in which general and local anesthetics are excreted from the body.
  • Compare and contrast the side effects and adverse effects of general and local anesthetics.
  • List the sources of opioid analgesics and relate their effects to the physiology of pain.
  • Examine the actions of opioid analgesics as antitussives on the smooth muscles, cardiovascular system, and eyes.
  • Explain the mechanism of action of opioid analgesics.
  • Analyze the most common adverse effects and drug interactions of opioid analgesics and explain opioid poisoning and opioid antagonists.
  • Evaluate the various types of nonopioid analgesics and recommend correct doses of these drugs for adults.
  • Explain the absorption, metabolism, and adverse effects of nonopioid analgesics.
  • Select appropriate pain relief drugs for various types of inflammation.
  • Assess the treatment of acute gout with relation to the characteristics of the disease, drug actions, and drug interactions.
6Cardiac Function, Disorders, and Blood Pressure
  • Heart Structure and Function
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Blood Pressure and Hypertension
  • Drugs Used to Treat Congestive Heart Failure and Hypertension
  • Cardiac Arrhythmia
  • Angina Pectoris
  • Relate the structure of the heart to its functioning.
  • Analyze the condition of congestive heart failure and the body's natural response to it.
  • Relate physiological factors, including kidney function, to blood pressure.
  • Analyze drug therapy in relation to congestive heart failure and hypertension, including pharmacological actions and adverse effects of various drugs.
  • Examine the normal cardiac cycle and differentiate between common cardiac arrhythmias.
  • Relate the four different classes of antiarrhythmic drugs to their action mechanisms and adverse effects.
  • Describe the common causes of two main types of angina pectoris.
  • Explain the mechanisms of action, routes of administration, and adverse effects of antianginal drugs.
7Blood Clotting, Anemia, and Lipids
  • Anticoagulants and Coagulants
  • Anemia
  • Lipids
  • Relate the actions of coagulants and anticoagulants to the natural process of formation and dissolution of blood clots.
  • Analyze the mechanisms of action of coagulants and anticoagulants, routes of administration, interactions, and treatment for an overdose.
  • Compare and contrast the various causes of anemia and their appropriate treatment.
  • Explain the side effects and special considerations in the treatment of anemia.
  • Analyze the sources and uses of dietary lipids, their normal blood levels, and the health effects of hyperlipidemia.Evaluate the mechanisms of action of various hypolipidemic drugs with specific reference to their adverse effects.
8Respiratory System
  • Allergies and Respiratory Diseases
  • Drugs Used to Treat Allergies and Respiratory Diseases
  • Respiratory Immunology
  • Describe the body's response to antigens and the actions of histamine.
  • Analyze the causes, processes, and effects of respiratory diseases.
  • Compare and contrast antiallergic and antihistaminic drugs with specific reference to their adverse reactions, drug interactions, and contraindications in the treatment of allergies and respiratory diseases.
  • Assess anti inflammatory drugs, bronchodilators, expectorants, and mucolytics in the treatment of respiratory diseases.
9Gastrointestinal Disorders and Intestinal Motility
  • Digestion
  • Drugs Used to Treat Digestive Disorders
  • Intestinal Motility Disorders
  • Analyze the normal process of digestion and describe ulcer formation, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and vomiting.
  • Compare and contrast the actions of drugs used to treat ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and vomiting. Examine their mechanisms of action, adverse effects, contraindications, and interactions.
  • Analyze the causes and effects of diarrhea and explain the actions of drugs used to treat simple diarrhea and their contraindications.
  • List the appropriate clinical uses of laxatives and cathartics and explain their actions, routes of administration, adverse effects, and contraindications.Discuss irritable bowel syndrome and how this condition is treated.
10Endocrine System and Steroids
  • Hormones
  • Growth Hormone
  • Adrenal Steroids
  • Adrenal Steroids as Drugs
  • Relate hormone production to its functions.
  • Examine the function of growth hormone replacement therapy, its clinical use, and adverse effects.
  • Analyze the effects of glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids and the effects of deficiency of these hormones.
  • Explain the clinical indications and contraindications, administration, adverse effects, and drug interactions of adrenal steroids.
11Thyroid and Parathyroid Glands
  • Thyroid Hormones
  • Parathyroid Hormone and Other Factors that Influence Calcium
  • Relate the functions of hormones produced in the para- and thyroid glands to their clinical uses.
  • Examine the adverse effects, contraindications, and drug interactions of drugs used to treat thyroid conditions.
  • Evaluate drugs used to treat parathyroid conditions and degenerative bone disorders.
12Pancreatic Hormones
  • Diabetes
  • Drug Therapy
  • Assess the contribution of insulin and glucagon toward the maintenance of healthy blood glucose levels and describe the two types of diabetes.
  • Differentiate the actions of drugs used in the treatment of diabetes, including insulin, oral hypoglycemics, biguanide, insulin sensitizers, and glucose absorption inhibitors.
  • Compare and contrast the sources, routes of administration, and dosages of various drugs used to treat diabetes.
  • Describe the posterior pituitary hormones and where they are stored.
13Hormones and Reproduction
  • Female Sex Hormones
  • Labor and Breastfeeding
  • Male Sex Hormones
  • Summarize the clinical uses, actions, and routes of administration of female sex hormones.
  • Evaluate the adverse effects of female sex hormones and the risks of hormone replacement therapy.
  • Relate the actions of oxytocin to its clinical uses and describe its adverse effects.
  • Summarize the clinical uses, actions, and routes of administration of male sex hormones.
  • Explain the adverse effects, contraindications, and drug interactions of male sex hormones.
  • Explain the functions and clinical use for oxytocin.
  • Describe the clinical use of tocolytic drugs.
14Viral, Bacterial, and Fungal Pharmacology
  • Antiseptics and Disinfectants
  • Antibacterial Drugs
  • Antifungal Drugs
  • Viral Diseases and Antiviral Drugs
  • Antibacterial Agents
  • Describe the mechanisms of action of antiseptics and disinfectants and explain how they are used.
  • Recommend appropriate uses of antiseptics and disinfectants, taking into account adverse and toxic effects.
  • Differentiate the specific uses, mechanisms of action, and routes of administration for major groups of antibacterial drugs.
  • Analyze adverse effects, contraindications, and drug interactions for major groups of antibiotic and antimicrobial drugs.
  • Differentiate the specific uses, mechanisms of action, and routes of administration for major groups of antifungal drugs.
  • Describe the propagation of viruses and the mechanisms of action of antiviral drugs.
  • Assess the value and contribution of drugs used to treat influenza, herpes, and AIDS.
  • Analyze adverse effects, contraindications, and drug interactions for antiviral drugs.
15Parasitic Infection and Wound Pharmacology
  • Protozoal Infections
  • Helminthic Infections
  • Antiseptics and Disinfectants
  • Compare and contrast diseases caused by protozoal infection.
  • Differentiate the mechanism of action, routes of administration, adverse effects, contraindications, and interactions of drugs used to treat protozoal infections.
  • Describe diseases caused by parasitic worms.
  • Analyze the mechanism of action of drugs used to treat parasitic worm infections and their adverse effects and drug interactions.
  • Explain the role of antiseptics and disinfectants.
  • Explain the categories of antiseptics and disinfection, such as virucidal and bacteriostatic.
  • Describe the clinical uses of antiseptics and disinfectants.
  • Identify common chemicals used to inhibit infectious microorganisms.
  • Describe adverse effects and special cautions associated with antiseptics and disinfectants.
16Cancer and Immune Pharmacology
  • Types of Cancer
  • Drug Therapy
  • Adverse Effects
  • Immune System
  • Drug Actions
  • Relate types of cancer to their characteristics.
  • Differentiate the mechanisms of action of alkylating and antimetabolite drugs.
  • Explain the actions of other drugs used to treat cancer.
  • Examine the adverse effects of drugs used to treat cancer.
  • Relate types of immune cells to their functions and actions.
  • Analyze the mechanisms of action of immunostimulant and immunosuppressive drugs and their uses and adverse effects.
17Nutrition, Fluids, and Diuretics
  • Nutrients
  • Deficiency
  • Adverse Effects
  • Kidney Function
  • Diuretics
  • Differentiate the functions of various nutrients in maintaining normal body function.
  • Analyze nutrient deficiency with relation to recommended levels of nutrients and symptoms of deficiency.
  • Analyze the effects of supplement overdose and drug-supplement interactions.
  • Propose treatment plans for deficiency diseases.
  • Examine the structure and functions of the kidneys.
  • Analyze the conditions associated with renal dysfunction.
  • Relate diuretics to their mechanisms of action.
  • Explain the side effects of diuretics.
18Review
  • Review
  • Complete a review of key content covered in this course and Final Examination.

There are no prerequisites to take Pharmacology.

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book cover

Pharmacology, 7e by Hitner/Nagle is incredibly readable, with short chapters that link theory to practice; content that is focused on the need-to-know information to not overload the reader; excellent tables and features such as Patient Administration and Monitoring Boxes; and the most up-to-date drug information. This new edition features revised Learning Outcomes for each chapter, with a more streamlined chapter structure to reflect those updates.

StraighterLine provides a percentage score and letter grade for each course. See Academic Questions section in FAQ for further details on percentage scores and grading scale. A passing percentage is 70% or higher.

If you have chosen a Partner College to award credit for this course, your final grade will be based upon that college's grading scale. Only passing scores will be considered by Partner Colleges for an award of credit.

There are a total of 1000 points in the course.

TopicAssessmentPoints Available
4Graded Exam #1125
8Graded Exam #2125
9Midterm Exam200
13Graded Exam #3125
17Graded Exam #4125
18
Final Graded Exam300
Total 1000

This course introduces pharmacology as the study of drugs. The course begins with an explanation of therapeutic and adverse effects, in addition to the basic operation of the nervous system. Several major body systems are covered including the cardiovascular, urinary, respiratory, gastrointestinal, and reproductive systems, with particular emphasis on the endocrine and immune systems. The drugs that are used to treat such conditions are studied with respect to their mechanism of action, therapeutic effects, and adverse effects. Topics include muscle relaxants, anesthetics, pain medication, and psychoactive medications. As students work through this course, their understanding of how drugs impact the body, as intended and otherwise, will improve.

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