Pharmacology is the study of drugs and the interaction that occur between a living organism and chemicals that affect normal or abnormal biochemical functions. The study of pharmacology ranges from those that determine the effects of chemical agents upon sub cellular mechanisms, to those that deal with the potential hazards of pesticides and herbicides, to those that focus on treatment and prevention of major diseases by drug therapy.
It is a science, that is a basic, not only to medicine, but also to pharmacy, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine etc. The 2 main areas of pharmacology are pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics. Pharmacodynamics studies the effects of drugs on biological system, and pharmacokinetics studies the effects of biological system on drugs. Pharmacology Courses can be further sub divided into behavioral pharmacology, cardiovascular pharmacology, biochemical pharmacology, cellular pharmacology, molecular pharmacology, chemotherapy, clinical pharmacology, neuro pharmacology, endocrine pharmacology, system and integrative pharmacology, toxicology, veterinary pharmacology etc.
Difference between pharmacology and pharmacy:
There has been a lot of confusion regarding the difference between pharmacy and pharmacology. These are two different terms and fields. Pharmacology deals with the study of what a drug does to a body and also about what the body does to a drug. Pharmacology researches on drugs. Whereas pharmacy is the profession that deals with the end products of pharmaceutical industry., namely mix, supply, and advise dosages of drugs.
While remarkable progress has been made in the medical field, with the progress in technology and in developing new drugs and understanding how they work and act; the challenges that remain are endless.
SCOPE AND CAREER PROSPECTS
- Pharmacologists have job opportunities in the drug research laboratories, drug and chemical regulatory agencies, pharmaceutical agencies, pharmaceutical companies and environmental toxicology.
- TEACHING : If you are interested in teaching as a profession and if you are interested to pursue your masters degree, and you are basically a science student, then pharmacology is the best suited to pursue a masters in. Teaching is a noble profession, and the returns after completing your study is tremendous. And again the scope is vast as it is the basic subject of study in all medical colleges as well as para medical colleges like dental science, physiotherapy, pharmaceutical science, nursing science, radiography, lab technology etc. It is the most highly paid among the teaching profession in science, even at the initial stage as a beginner. As well you get an opportunity to work among the dignified doctors and amongst the highly esteemed medical professionals. Academic pharmacologists are employed by universities, medical schools and teaching hospitals.
- RESEARCH SCIENTIST : Research is a never ending field and thus one can take up research. As a research scientist a pharmacologist can work in universities, institutions, industries, hospitals, government organizations and carry out research in laboratories. Many work as associate or assistant scientists or researchers doing the routine work of conducting research and trials on drugs. Others are senior scientists or project managers who lead experiments, supervise lab workers, interpret data and develop new theories and experiments.
- The latest developments in genetic engineering has increased the number of research positions available to pharmacologists in the biotechnology industry.
- CLINICAL ASSOCIATE : One can get into clinical research as clinical coordinator or clinical trials administrator and later on generally qualify to move on to a full clinical research associate position. They are involved in drug trials to monitor safety and efficacy of new drugs and for conducting post market surveillance.
- CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGIST : Clinical pharmacologist assist the treating team of doctors with the investigations, diagnosis and treatment of disease. That analyze and interpret data related to patient samples. Perform trials on the drugs before its introduction, work on drug related reactions. They work for the betterment of the society by engaging in a wider range for complex work in laboratories specially against incurable, life threatening diseases like cancer, AIDS etc. They advise clinicians on the use of tests, diagnosis of disease and planning of therapy and progress of the treatment.
- FORENSIC SCIENTISTS : Pharmacologists with appropriate skills are also considered for posts in forensic science.
- BIOSTATISTICIAN : Biostatisticians are statisticians who work in the health related fields. They design research studies and collect and analyze data on problems such as how disease progress, how safe is the treatment, or the impact of certain risk factors associated with medical conditions.
- Phd. : for those interested in further study, they can take up doctorate and go for further specialization and research. Foreign fellowships for doctorate degree are also available.They can also work for medical and scientific publishing firms.
LIST OF VARIOUS POST GRADUATE COURSES OFFERED IN PHARMACOLOGY:
- B.Sc - Bachelor of science in pharmacology
- M.Sc - Masters of science in pharmacology
- M.D - Doctor of medicine in pharmacology
- Phd - Doctorate in pharmacology
B.Sc in pharmacology - there are few colleges which offer bachelors degree in biochemistry, and the eligibility criteria is a pass in 12th standard with science stream.M.Sc in pharmacology - if you are interested to apply for M.Sc in medical microbiology, then you must have completed your graduation with either of the subjects like MBBS, BDS, B.pharma, ayurveda medicine, homeopathy medicine, physiotherapy, B.Sc nursing or B.Sc in any science subjects from a recognized university. A minimum of 55% of marks is required, whereas there is a relaxation of 5% for SC/ST candidates. One must have learnt subjects like physics, chemistry, zoology or botany in the bachelors degree, as well as 12th board examination.
Some reputed institutions/universities also conduct entrance examinations, interviews etc. And as per the percentage in the entrance examination the candidates are selected. And it is easy to get through the entrance examination.
DURATION OF STUDY OF M.Sc PHARMACOLOGY - The duration of study is 3 years.
M.D in pharmacology : candidates who have completed MBBS from a recognized university are only eligible.
Phd : a doctrate can be persued after the completion of post graduation in pharmacology.