Pharmacology is a science of how different chemical agents, or drugs, affect biological systems and how living organisms respond to these substances. Besides, pharmacology ensures that both synthetic and natural medicines are effective enough and safe for human consumption. Without pharmacological studies, we would not be able to differentiate between therapeutic and toxic chemical agents, which could lead to fatal results. So, what makes pharmacology so important? Here are ten reasons why pharmacology matters:
#1. Pharmacology Studies How Drugs Affect Biological Systems
Pharmacodynamics (PD) is a branch of pharmacology that studies the effects of drugs on different biological systems. In other words, pharmacodynamics is a study of what the drug does to the body. Primarily, it explores the molecular, biochemical, and physiological effects of drugs on various cellular targets. Pharmacodynamics also deals with determining desired and adverse activities of medicines as well as the duration of action. Therefore, pharmacodynamics is essential for identifying drug doses while considering the concentration of the drug, its benefits, and potential side effects.
#2. Pharmacology Is the Study of How the Body Responds to Drugs
Pharmacokinetics (PK) is another major branch of pharmacology that focuses on how biological systems respond to chemical substances. That is, pharmacokinetics explains what the body does to the drug. More specifically, pharmacokinetics studies how the drugs are absorbed, distributed, metabolized, and excreted from biological systems. In addition, clinical pharmacokinetics applies the knowledge of PK principles and promotes safe and effective therapeutic drug management in patients.
#3. Pharmacology Integrates Numerous Other Disciplines
With the aim to enhance the efficacy and decrease the toxicity of various drug therapies in patients, pharmacology integrates multiple other disciplines, such as cell and molecular biology, biochemistry, physiology, medicine, and pharmaceutical sciences. For that reason, pharmacology is often referred to as bridge science that uses knowledge of different basic scientific disciplines and translates it into practical drug development approaches.
#4. Pharmacology Explores Physicochemical Properties of Drugs
Understanding the physical and chemical properties of drugs is critical for successfully formulating effective medication. These properties are mainly influenced by the chemical structure of molecules and pharmacologists are responsible for identifying the corresponding physicochemical parameters. Size, shape, and polarity are three of the essential physical characteristics of drugs. On the other hand, the chemical properties of drugs include acid-base characteristics, solubility, lipophilicity, ionization, and permeability. Studying these parameters allows pharmacologists to determine the activity of drugs and their compatibility with other medicines.
#5. Pharmacology Encompasses Therapeutic Effects of Drugs
Therapeutic indications are desirable or beneficial consequences of medical treatment. These are behavioral or physiological changes in response to the intake of chemical reagents. Pharmacology is a discipline that provides detailed information about the benefits of drugs and explains how medicines interact with cellular targets positively. Therefore, pharmacology is linked with therapeutics, which explores the treatment and care of patients for preventing and combating diseases or injuries.
#6. Pharmacology Studies Toxic Effects of Drugs
Along with encompassing the therapeutic effects of drugs, pharmacology studies the toxicity of medicines. The scientific discipline dealing with the adverse effects of chemical agents on biological systems is called toxicology. Along with that, toxicology diagnoses and treats the exposure to various toxins and toxicants. Without pharmacology, toxicologists would not be able to identify and prevent the harmful effects of chemical substances on humans, animals, and other living organisms. Besides, toxicologists in the pharmaceutical industry work in tandem with pharmacologists to ensure that new drugs are safe to be tested in clinical trials or consumed by living beings.
#7. Pharmacology Is Essential for the Improvement and Development of Drugs
Pharmacological studies are fundamental to improving already existing medicines and designing new drugs. By studying the relationship between drugs and biological systems, pharmacology plays a crucial role in drug discovery and development. Understanding how cellular targets respond to drugs and what effects biologically active chemicals have is essential for formulating medication that actually works. This is why pharmacologists are involved in every stage of the drug development journey, from lab to shelf.
#8. Pharmacological Studies Are Crucial for Treating and Preventing Diseases
Clinical pharmacology applies the knowledge of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics to understand the use of drugs to treat or prevent diseases. The branch of pharmacology that is concerned with the use of drugs for disease treatment and prevention is known as pharmacotherapeutics. In addition, pharmacology aims to describe disease progression relative to drug concentration and dosage. That being said, clinical pharmacological studies are of huge importance for developing and understanding new drug therapies.
#9. Pharmacology Promotes the Advancement of Nanotechnology-Based Approaches
Nanotechnology is widely employed in the pharmaceutical fields and the main reason for this is to enhance drug solubility and bioavailability. Nanotechnology-based approaches allow scientists to develop drugs that treat diseased cells directly. Evidently, the integration of nanotechnology with pharmacology is a key to designing innovative medicines and therapies. Besides, pharmacological studies promote the development of various nanotechnological approaches, leading to the improvement of the therapeutic outcomes of drugs.
#10. The Nature of Pharmacology Offers Scientists a Broad Range of Research Opportunities
As mentioned above, pharmacology is a broad scientific field that incorporates many different disciplines and works in tandem with them to provide the most optimal solutions to disease treatment and prevention. Due to the complex nature of pharmacology, it offers scientists a large variety of research opportunities that could potentially lead to the development of more successful drugs and therapies.