91026 - General Pharmacology, Pharmacogenetics and Pharmacotherapy I

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2022/2023

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 -  Teacher: Prof. 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.
Drugs acting drugs on uterine motility.
Drugs used for migraine. 

Local anesthetics.



MODULE 2 - Teacher: Prof. Eleonora Turrini


- 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

Whalen, Pharmacology, Lippincott Williams, Ed. VII 2018.

Teaching methods

Frontal lessons (lectures)

Assessment methods

Module 1 - 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) that can be accessed only after obtaining a positive evaluation in the written test of Module 2 (see below). 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. In addition, the knowledge of the classes as wellas of specific drugs treated during the lessons of the module (their pharmacological characteristics, use and any peculiarities) is required. The duration of the oral test is about 30 minutes.

The mark assignment is carried out on the basis of the answers, the evidence for the comprehension of the principles learned and the quality of exposure, also in relationship to the previous knowledge necessary for the understanding of specific exam topics.

Module 2 - For module 2, 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 mark of the oral test (Module 1), as well as that obtained from the written test (Module 2).   The overall judgment resulting from the two modules will determine the final mark out of thirty.

Teaching tools

PC, Projectors, PowerPoint presentations

Office hours

See the website of Sanzio Candeletti

See the website of Eleonora Turrini