91026 - General Pharmacology, Pharmacogenetics and Pharmacotherapy I

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course the student: - knows the different mechanisms of action of the drugs, including the characteristics and the pharmacodynamic consequences of their interaction with the biological structures responsible for the therapeutic and toxic effects, as well as the criteria for the quantification of the responses; - knows the principles of pharmacokinetics, such as the absorption, distribution and elimination of drugs, as well as their bioavailability and the general biotransformation mechanisms; - knows the main factors of the variability of the response to drugs and the main mechanisms and effects of drug interactions; - acquires the general concepts of pharmacogenomics and pharmacogenetics; - knows the genetic bases of inter-individual variability in drug response and genetic polymorphisms involved in the distribution, elimination, metabolism and therapeutic response to drugs; - acquires the necessary knowledge to understand the mechanisms of action and the therapeutic profile of the drugs used in anti-infective therapy and in anticancer chemotherapy; - knows the mechanisms of action and the therapeutic profile of local anesthetics, of drugs active on the autonomic nervous system, on the neuromuscular junction, and on uterine motility - knows how to apply the knowledge learned for the conduct of the profession, for the proper storage and dispensation of medicines, to inform and educate on the use of medicines and to monitor the management of the appropriateness in the use of medicines and the continuity of adherence to drug therapy in chronic therapies.

Course contents

MODULE 1 - GENERAL PHARMACOLOGY - Teacher: Sanzio Candeletti

Definition and fields of Pharmacology. Concept of drug / poison, as a tool of pharmacotherapy and medicine and as a tool for biological investigation.

Pharmacokinetics: routes of administration of drugs and their adsorption; drugs movement across biological membranes; bioavailability; drug distribution among body compartments, distribution volume, plasma protein binding; biotranformation; drug excretion; pattern of plasma concentrations (after single or repeated administration).

Pharmacodymamics: sites and mechanisms of actions of drugs; drug-receptor interactions and their cellular consequences; dose-response relationships; drugs acting as agonists, antagonists or partial agonists; factors modifying drug actions (e.g. age, pathologies, drug interactions, tolerance, placebo). Drug interactions. General Toxicity: adverse effects; overdose effects; idiosyncratic or allergic reactions; abuse liability. Preclinical and clinical drug development. Pharmacovigilance.


Functional organization of the autonomic and peripheral nervous system and of the neuromuscular junction.
Cholinergic agonists and antagonists and acetylcholinesterase inhibitor drugs.
Adrenergic agonists and antagonists.
Pharmacology of the neuromuscular transmission.
Local anesthetics.
Drugs acting drugs on uterine motility.
Drugs used for migraine.

Module 3 - Chemotherapy

- Introduction

Microbial diseases

- Antimicrobial agents: penicillins, cephalosporins and other b-lactam compounds; macrolides, ketolides and lincosamides; aminoglycosides; fluoroquinolones; glycopeptides; amphenicols; tetracyclines; rifamycins; sulfonamides e pyrimidines; drugs for tuberculosis.

- Antifungal agents

- Antiviral agents

Parasitic infections

- Antiprotozoal agents: malaria; leishmaniasis; amebiasis, giardiasis and trichomoniasis; toxoplasmosis; trypanosomiasis.

- Anthelmintic agents

- Ectoparasiticides

Neoplastic disorders

- Alkylating agents

- Antimetabolites agents

- Topoisomerase inhibitors

- Microtubule inhibitors

- Hormone antagonists

- Other signal transduction inhibitors and cytotoxic antibodies


Rang & Dale's Pharmacology, Elsevier

Bertram G. Katzung, Basic & clinical pharmacology, McGraw-Hill

David E. Golan, "Principles in Pharmacology – The Pathophysiology of Drug Therapy", Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Clementi  F. Fumagalli G. et al. ]"General and Molecular Pharmacology: Principles of Drug Action", Wiley

Teaching methods

Frontal lessons (lectures)

Assessment methods

Module 1 and Module 2 - Learning assessment is done by an oral exam (in presence or online on the Microsoft Teams platform, depending on the Covid-19 – related Health rules), on both teaching modules, aiming to verify and evaluate the achievement of the learning objectives. For Module 1 it is required: the knowledge of the mechanisms of action of drugs, characteristics and pharmacodynamic consequences of their interaction with biological structures that are responsible for their therapeutic and toxic effects and their variability; the knowledge of the pharmacokinetic processes that regulate the presence of the drug in the body, from its entry to its elimination.

For Module 2, the knowledge of the classes and of the individual drugs treated during the lessons of the module (their pharmacological characteristics, use and any peculiarities) is required.

Module 3 - For module 3 - Chemotherapy - there is a compulsory written test which must be passed in order to access the oral test. The written test is judged as positive with 60% of correct answers (30 out of 50 total questions).The result of the written test is expressed with a grade, is valid for one year and contributes to the overall evaluation mark (weighted average) of the final oral exam.

The final mark of the course (total 8 credits) is defined as weighed average, by evaluating the answers to about four main questions of the oral test, as well as those given in of the written test (Module 3). The assessment of the candidate's preparation may use further questions. The duration of the oral test is about 30 minutes. The mark assignment is carried out on the basis of the correctness of the answers, the evidence of comprehension of the principles learned and the quality of exposure, also in relationship to the previous knowledge necessary for the understanding of the specific exam topics. The overall judgment resulting from the three modules will determine the final mark out of thirty.

The student's ability to orient himself within the various sections of the course will be evaluated.

The achievement by the student of a global vision of the pharmacological issues addressed in class and the ability to use a specific language will be assessed with marks of excellence.

Teaching tools

PC, Projectors, PowerPoint presentations

Office hours

See the website of Sanzio Candeletti

See the website of Eleonora Turrini