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PHCY340 Essentials of Drug Action

Principles of general pharmacology and medicinal chemistry, including pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics with particular reference to drugs affecting the cardiovascular, respiratory and central nervous system, as required for later studies in pharmacy.

Paper title Essentials of Drug Action
Paper code PHCY340
Subject Pharmacy
EFTS 0.1000
Points 12 points
Teaching period First Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $800.30
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $3,796.00

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Limited to
Admission from successful completion of second-year programme or approved graduate entry.
Teaching staff
Dr Morgayn Read
Paper Structure
35 lectures
5 laboratories

  • Internal 30%
  • Final 70%
Teaching Arrangements
Lectures and laboratories.
Waller D.G., Renwick A.G. and Hillier K. (2010) Medical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 3rd edn, Elsevier.

Neal M.J. (2012) Medical Pharmacology at a Glance, 7th edn, Wiley-Blackwell.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Lifelong learning, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Information literacy, Research.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
The aim of the paper is to introduce and expand on the principles of Pharmacology and Medicinal Chemistry required for later study in the BPharm degree. Topics covered include:
  • The basic principles of pharmacology, including measurement of drug effects, drug receptors and pharmacokinetics
  • The pharmacology of the chemical mediators of the autonomic nervous system (cholinergics and adrenergics), as well as other chemical mediators (eg 5-HT, dopamine, nitric oxide, etc)
  • Cardiovascular pharmacology, including vasoconstrictors, vasodilators, lipid-lowering drugs and drugs used to treat arrhythmias, heart failure, coagulation disorders and renal conditions
  • Central nervous system pharmacology, including sedative hypnotics, ethanol, anaesthetics, analgesics and drug dependence
  • The pharmacology of pain, inflammation and allergy
  • The link between pharmacology and medicinal chemistry
  • The pharmacokinetics and structure activity relationships in steroid hormones and drugs affecting the central nervous system

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First Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
D1 Thursday 09:00-09:50 9-12, 15-22
Thursday 12:00-12:50 9-13, 15-22
E1 Friday 13:00-13:50 9-12, 15-21