Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Applied Molecular and Clinical Pharmacology

UM LEVEL 04 - Years 4, 5 in Modular UG or PG Cert Course



DEPARTMENT Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics

DESCRIPTION This study-unit will review the pharmacology of drugs used in anaesthesia and the management of affective disorders, addiction, immunosuppression and rheumatology. It will also look at clinical concepts in the application of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics in the optimization of drug regimens, and will address pharmacotoxicological aspects of therapy. Moreover, it will present an overview of the newer biotechnological agents, and will address the emerging role of translational pharmacogenomics.

Study-unit Aims:

- To review the pharmacology of drugs used in anaesthesia.
- To expose the students to the various neurophysiological processes involved in depression, anxiolysis and drug addiction, and discuss the various pharmacological classes used to manage these processes.
- To review the pharmacology of immunosuppressants and drugs used to manage rheumatological conditions.
- To provide students with clinical concepts relevant to the application of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics in the individualized optimization of drug regimens.
- To obtain a strong background of drug-related toxicology.
- To review biotech drugs; their properties, nomenclature and pharmacological actions.
- To appreciate the evolving area of applied translational pharmacogenomics.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Evaluate and interpret pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic aspects of clinical pharmacology literature, and the apply these principles to the selection of effective drug therapy.
- Have a strong background on the actions and outcomes of drugs used in anaesthesia, affective-disorders, immunosuppression and rheumatology.
- Integrate pharmacotoxicological and therapeutic knowledge and appreciate benefit-risk balances.
- Gain an understanding of the special pharmacological relevance of biotechnological applications, with a focus on biological drugs and translational pharmacogomics.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Apply basic principles in the treatment and understanding of drugs used in anaesthesia, affective disorders, immunosuppression and rheumatological conditions.
- Apply basic pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic principles in clinical situations and drug development.
- Adopt a correct understanding of the selection of drugs in these conditions.
- Interpret benficial and pharmacotoxicological outcomes of drug therapy.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Texts:

Ritter JM, Flower R, Henderson G, Rang HP. Rang & Dale's Pharmacology. 2015. 8th Ed. Churchill Livingstone.

Rowland M, Tozer TM.Clinical Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics: Concepts and Applications. 2010. 4th Revised Ed. Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

British National Formulary. Pharmaceutical Press. [New edition published every March and September. Recent edition required]

Supplementary Readings:

Knollmann B, Brunton L, Hilal-Dandan R. Goodman and Gilman's The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics. 2017. 13th Ed. McGraw-Hill.

Lecture notes:

McKay GA, Reid JL, Walters MR. Lecture Notes: Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics. 2011. 8th Ed. Wiley-Blackwell.


STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Independent Study

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Sept. Asst Session Weighting
Examination (3 Hours) SEM2 Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Andrew Aquilina
Anne Marie Bonello
Godwin Mario Grech
Louise Grech
Janet Mifsud (Co-ord.)
Patricia Vella Bonanno
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.