Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Pharmacological Principles in Dentistry

UM LEVEL 01 - Year 1 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DEPARTMENT Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics

DESCRIPTION An introduction to the study of and main pharmacological principles in dentistry. Emphasis will be given to the application of pharmacology in relation to Dental Surgery. The study-unit will cover concepts in basic, molecular and clinical pharmacology. It will cover pharmacokinetic principles in drug therapy; give an overview of cellular modes of drug action; genetic contribution to the effects of drug; adverse drug reactions, drug interactions, allergic responses to drugs and their clinical relevance. It will also introduce drug delivery systems, regulatory affairs and pharmacological care in different populations - optimizing drug use, with specific reference to drugs used in dental practice.

Study-unit Aims:

1. To provide Dental Students with a sound understanding of the principles underlying the therapeutic action of drugs.
2. To give Dental Students a general introduction to pharmacokinetics i.e. the determinants of the time course of the drug in the body, applying pharmacokinetic principles in order to provide rational drug therapy.
3. To provide the Dental Students with a basis of different drug delivery systems, the principles underlying evidence-based medicine and issues concerning clinical pharmacology at the extremes of age.
4. To provide a tutorial-based discussion forum for Dental Students to expand on the content of the study module in areas relevant to Dental Surgery.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
1. Apply the basic principles used in molecular pharmacology.
2. List the molecular and genetic principles involved in the mode of action of drugs.
3. Predict the effects of drugs in specific populations eg adverse drug effects, iatrogenic effects and drug interactions.
4. Interpret pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic data and drug plasma concentrations.
5. Outline the concept of individualised drug therapy and drug development.
6. List the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of the 'ideal drug.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
1. Apply knowledge of the molecular mode of action of drugs to specific clinical scenarios.
2. Apply basic pharmacological and pharmacokinetic principles in prescribing decisions.
3. Predict interpatient variability with respect to drug response.
4. Explain the selection of differing drug therapies for the individual patient.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Recommended reading texts:

Bennett PN, Brown MJ, Sharma PJ. Clinical Pharmacology. 11th Ed. Churchill Livingston. 2012.
Rang HP, Dale MM, Flower RJ, Ritter JM, Henderson G. Pharmacology. 7th Ed. Churchill Livingstone. 2011.
Casiglia JM. Clinicians Guide to Pharmacology in Dental Medicine. American Academy of Oral Medicine. 2009.
Physicians' Desk Reference. ADA/PDR Guide to Dental Therapeutics, 5th Ed. Thomson PDR. 2011.

Study Aids:

Neal MJ. Medical Pharmacology at a glance. 7th Ed. Wiley-Blackwell. 2012.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture, Independent Study & Tutorial

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Sept. Asst Session Weighting
Examination (2 Hours) SEM1 Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Maria A. Cordina (Co-ord.)
Roger Ellul Micallef
Godwin Mario Grech
Janet Mifsud
Patricia Vella Bonanno
Nathan Vella
Lorna West
Mark Zammit


The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2023/4. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.