Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers an open course in the Principle of basic Pharmacology. Students completing the course will do so at graduate level and the course description is as follows:
The course’s object is the teaching of student the approach to the study of pharmacological agents. The intent of the course is not a pharmacopoeia review. The focus of the course is on the basic principles of physiology, biochemistry and biophysics as it is related to the different mechanisms of metabolism, bio distribution and drug action.
Thee full course consist of student-led case discussions and lectures. Topics covered include:
• Substance abuse
• Drug interaction
• Toxicity of pharmacological agents
• Drug metabolism
• Drug delivery systems
• Pharmacokinetics
• Dose-response relations
• Mechanisms of drug action
Classes of agents and selected agents are examined in full detail during the course.
Assignments:
Students must complete three assignments in this course, a problem set, a drug evaluation report and a case discussion.
Student-led case discussions cover some important topics in basic pharmacology which are only covered briefly or sometimes not addressed in faculty lectures. The case discussion are all based on real incidents and embellished to bring important factors to the foreground. Students taking this course should try not to get side tracked by interesting clinical details, but stick to the basic pharmacology issues at hand.
Case discussions are analysed by two students and students are expected to give oral presentations. The first student may have to for example cover the clinical aspects and the other the pharmacological background of cases. Bibliographical research is the responsibility of students and review articles and textbooks will suffice.
Case topics
• Organophosphate Poisoning
• Anticoagulation
• Ulcerative Colitis and Sulfasalazine
• Pheochromocytoma
• Asthma
• Poison control
• Cocaine – MI
• Glaucoma
• Pharmacogenetics
• Hyperthyroidism
• Placental transfer
• Gout
• Analgesia – placebo response
• Geriatric pharmacology
• Antiemetics
• Acute renal failure
• Lithium toxicity
• Alcohol
• Allergy
• Migraine
• Folate
• Oral hypoglycemics
• Analgesia – terminal cancer
• Drug abuse

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