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Course Description

A variety of medicine in bottles and pill form

This course will introduce students to the basic principles of pharmacology. Topics to be covered include pharmacokinetics and drug-receptor interactions as well as the mechanism of action and toxicity of drugs acting on the cardiovascular and central nervous system.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course you should be able to:

  • Recognize the fundamental principles of pharmacodynamics (i.e. drug-receptor interactions) and pharmacokinetics (i.e. absorption, distribution, metabolism, and elimination of drugs).
  • Identify how drugs alter cellular function through the study of pharmacodynamics.
  • Determine how the body handles drugs through pharmacokinetic processes such as absorption, distribution, metabolism, elimination, dose-response relationships, half-life, steady-state concentrations and volume of distribution.
  • Describe the pharmacology of the autonomic nervous system at an introductory level as preparation for understanding CNS drug actions.
  • Describe the distribution and identify the function of clinically relevant receptors in the autonomic nervous system and identify why they represent useful targets for therapeutic manipulation.
  • List and discuss selected drugs used to stimulate or inhibit the sympathetic or parasympathetic nervous systems, including their clinical uses and potential adverse effects.
  • Name major classes and provide specific examples, mechanisms of action, adverse effects and contraindications for drugs affecting the autonomic nervous system, cardiovascular system and central nervous system.
  • Name the major classes and provide specific examples, mechanisms of action, adverse effects and contraindications of pre-anesthetics and anesthetics.

Course Topics

  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Pharmacodynamics 
  • Autonomic Pharmacology 
  • Cardiovascular Pharmacology
  • CNS Pharmacoloogy
  • Pre-anesthetics and Anesthetics

Additional Requirements

Prerequisite(s): BIOC*2580, (1 of ANSC*3080, BIOM*3200, HK*3810, HK*3940, ZOO*3200, ZOO*3600)


Assessment Item Weight
Quizzes (2 x 15%) 30%
Midterm 30%
Final Assignment 40%
Total 100%

Technical Requirements

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*Course details are subject to change.

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Section Title
Principles of Pharmacology
May 11, 2023 to August 04, 2023
Contact Hours
Delivery Options
Course Fee(s)
Domestic Tuition Fee (0.5 units) $683.39 Click here to get more information
Domestic Tuition Fee - Non-Ontario (0.5 units) $713.81 Click here to get more information
International Tuition Fee (0.5 units) $3,106.72 Click here to get more information
Available for Credit
0.5 units
Reading List / Textbook
Note: The 3rd edition of this textbook, published in 2012, is also acceptable.
Section Notes

Note:  If you are in a degree program at the University of Guelph, please DO NOT register using the link above.  You must register through WebAdvisor.

Section Materials
  • Textbook (Unconfirmed) (Mandatory) Principles of Pharmacology: The Pathophysiological Basis of Drug Therapy by David E. Golan, Ehrin J. Armstrong, April W. Armstrong © 2016 Wolters Kluwer 4th edition ISBN 9781451191004
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