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Clinical pharmacology is the science of drugs and their clinical use. It is underpinned by the basic science of pharmacology, with added focus on the application of pharmacological principles and quantitative methods in the real world. It has a broad scope, from the discovery of new target molecules, to the effects of drug usage in whole populations.
Clinical pharmacology connects the gap between medical practice and laboratory science. The main objective is to promote the safety of prescription, maximise the drug effects and minimise the side effects. It is important that there be association with pharmacists skilled in areas of drug information, medication safety and other aspects of pharmacy practice related to clinical pharmacology. In fact, in countries such as USA, Netherlands and France, pharmacists train to become clinical pharmacologists. Therefore, clinical pharmacology is not specific to medicine.
Clinical pharmacologists usually have a rigorous medical and scientific training which enables them to evaluate evidence and produce new data through well designed studies. Clinical pharmacologists must have access to enough outpatients for clinical care, teaching and education, and research as well be supervised by medical specialists. Their responsibilities to patients include, but are not limited to analyzing adverse drug effects, therapeutics, and toxicology including reproductive toxicology, cardiovascular risks, perioperative drug management and psychopharmacology.
In addition, the application of genetic, biochemical, or virotherapeutical techniques has led to a clear appreciation of the mechanisms involved in drug action.
- Pharmacodynamics - finding out what drugs do to the body and how. This includes not just the cellular and molecular aspects, but also more relevant clinical measurements. For example, not just the biology of salbutamol, a beta2-adrenergic receptor agonist, but the peak flow rate of both healthy volunteers and real patients.
- Pharmacokinetics - what happens to the drug while in the body. This involves the body systems for handling the drug, usually divided into the following classification:
- Rational Prescribing - using the right medication, at the right dose, using the right route and frequency of administration for the patient, and stopping the drug appropriately.
- Adverse Drug Effects
- Drug interactions
- Drug development - usually culminating in some form of clinical trials and marketing authorisation applications to country-specific drug regulators such as US FDA.
- Molecular pharmacology - studying drug action at the molecular level. This is also a branch of pharmacology in general, but the ultimate interest is in human as a system.
- Pharmacogenomics - studying human genome to learn interaction of drugs with genetics, etc.
- International Union of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology (IUPHAR)
- Dutch Society on Clinical Pharmacology and Biopharmaceutics (NVKF&B)
- American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics (ASCPT)
- American College of Clinical Pharmacology (ACCP)
- British Pharmacological Society (BPS)
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