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What is pharmacology?

Pharmacology is the science of drugs and their effect on living systems. You can find pharmacology present everywhere. In medicine cabinets, when you visit the dentists and when you take any type of medication. Pharmacology is also responsible for painkillers, caffeine drinks and antibiotics. It is the science of what is happening to your body and to the drug itself.

Every medication we take alters the chemistry within our body. The role of pharmacology is to understand why these changes are happening, allowing us to develop better drugs.

Pharmacology is crucial for:

  • discovering new medicines to help fight diseases
  • improving the effectiveness of medicines
  • reducing unwanted side effects of medicines
  • understanding why individuals differ in the way they respond to certain drugs, and why some others cause addiction

Pharmacology lies at the heart of biomedical science, linking together chemistry, physiology and pathology. Pharmacologists work closely with a wide variety of other disciplines that make up modern biomedical science, including neuroscience, molecular and cell biology, immunology and cancer biology.

Pharmacological knowledge improves the lives of millions of people across the world. It maximises their benefit and minimises risk and harm

As new diseases emerge, and older medicines - like antibiotics - no longer work as well, the contribution of pharmacology to finding better and safer medicines becomes all the more vital.

The difference between pharmacology and pharmacy

A pharmacist is a licensed health professional who prepares, dispenses and advises on medicinal drugs.

A pharmacologist is a scientist that researches new drugs.