INTRODUCTION TO PHARMACOLOGY
Object of study of pharmacology and its relationship with the other biomedical disciplines. What a drug is: definitions according to the Food and Drug Administration (USA) and Ministry of Health (Italy).
PRINCIPLES OF PHARMACODYNAMICS
Proteins as targets of drug binding. Receptors: definitions. Receptors in physiological systems. Specificity of dugs.
Drug receptor interaction: binding of drugs to receptors; relation between drug concentration and drug effect. Competitive antagonism and allosteric effects. Partial agonists and efficacy. Constitutive activity of receptors and inverse agonists. Two-state receptor model.
Chemical, pharmacokinetic and physiological antagonism and blockade of the receptor-effector interaction. Desensitisation and tachyphylaxis.
MOLECULAR ASPECTS OF DRUG ACTION
Receptors, ion channels, enzymes and transporters as drug action targets.
Biochemical classification of receptors: structural and functional aspects.
Processes influencing drug movement in the organism. Movement of drugs throughout cellular barriers. Diffusion throughout lipids, pH and ionization. Carrier-mediated transport. Drug binding to plasma proteins. Distribution in adipose tissue and in other tissues.
Drug absorption and administration routes. Distribution of drugs in the body. Apparent distribution volume. Drug metabolism. Drug interactions related to absorption, distribution and metabolism. Biliary and renal excretion of drugs. Elements of quantitative pharmacokinetics.
General concepts and ethical aspects. Classification of clinical studies. Meta-analyses. The Vioxx case and the cardiovascular effects of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Introduction to psychopharmacology. The mind as a functional expression of biological activity. Emotions. Psychiatric nosology and DSM (APA). Animal models of psychiatric diseases.
Dopaminergic neurotransmission. Dopamine receptors. Dopamine pathways.
Neurobiology of schizophrenia. Role of dopaminergic transmission in schizophrenia. Schizophrenia and animal models. Antipsychotic drugs.
Drugs as research tools. Dopamine antagonists and the neurobiology of reward directed behaviour.
Substance use disorder. Neurobiology and pharmacotherapy.
Neurobiology of depression and antidepressant drugs.
PHARMACOLOGY OF THE AUTONOMOUS NERVOUS SYSTEM
Elements of anatomy and physiology. Cholinergic and noradrenergic transmission. Drugs acting on the autonomous nervous system. General knowledge of cholinergic agonists and antagonists and cholinesterase inhibitors. General knowledge of alpha-adrenergic agonists and antagonists and beta-adrenergic agonists. Focus on beta-adrenergic antagonists.
DRUGS ACTING ON THE CARDIOVASCULAR SYSTEM AND KIDNEY
Hypertension. Pathophysiological and clinical aspects. Clinical evidence on pharmacotherapy.
Heart failure. Pathophysiological and clinical aspects. Clinical evidence on pharmacotherapy.
The renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system.
Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEi), angiotensin receptor blockers (ARB) and diuretics.