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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 (5 x 2%) 10%
Midterm 40%
Final Exam 50%
Total 100%


Additional Technical Requirements

This course will use the following:

  • Respondus tool to invigilate one or more exams. 

Please view the Technical Considerations.

Technical Requirements

You are responsible for ensuring that your computer system meets the necessary system requirements. Use the browser check tool to ensure your browser settings are compatible and up to date (results will be displayed in a new browser window).

*Course details are subject to change.


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