Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Principles of Pharmacotherapeutics

UM LEVEL 01 - Year 1 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DEPARTMENT Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics

DESCRIPTION Pharmacotherapeutics refers to the use of drugs to prevent, treat, and manage disease. It incorporates multiple aspects, including pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, benefit vs risk relationships of drug therapy, routes of administration, principles of prescribing, individualized patient therapy, measurement of expected outcomes, reassessment and followup, and issues related to patient compliance to therapy.

This study-unit will provide students with the basis of such principles, which will form the necessary foundation for the pharmacology of specific drugs and drug classes which will be covered in later study-units.

Study-unit Aims:

The study-unit aims to present a broad profile of pharmacotherapeutic approaches and strategies, and allow students to appreciate the balance of various factors, such as safety, efficacy and compliance, which are required to optimize pharmacotherapeutics. Students will learn the rationale behind various approaches to acute therapy, chronic therapy, prophylactic therapy, replacement therapy, palliative therapy and empiric therapy. The study-unit will also teach students the principles behind optimizing pharmacotherapy, including the use of laboratory diagnostics and the basics of personalized medicine.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Review the basic principles of pharmacotherapeutics;
- Integrate the various factors contributing to optimized pharmacotherapeutics;
- Identify and rationalise different pharmacotherapeutic approaches;
- Discuss common examples of good pharmacotherapeutic management.

2. Skills
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Discuss principles underlying different therapeutic approaches with respect to different disease targets and disease states;
- Explain the principles of personalized medicine;
- Describe the principles underlying the development of therapeutic guidelines;
- Carry out basic calculations required for pharmacotherapeutic management.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main text:

- Ritter JM, Flower RJ, Henderson G, Loke YK, MacEwan D, Rang HP. Rang & Dale's Pharmacology. 9th Ed. 2019. Elsevier.

Supplementary readings:

- Satoskar RS, Rege NN, Bhandarkar SD. Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapeutics. 2015. Elsevier.
- Brunton L, Knollmann B, Hilal-Dandan R.Goodman and Gilman's The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics, 13th Ed. 2017. McGraw-Hill Education.


- Molecular pharmacology. Published by the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.
- British Journal of Pharmacology. Published by the British Pharmacological Society.
- British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. Published by the British Pharmacological Society.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture, Independent Study & Tutorial

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Sept. Asst Session Weighting
Assignment SEM2 Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Jeffrey Bonnici
Janet Mifsud
Janet Sultana
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.