Continuing Professional Development: Introduction to pharmacology

October 2010

OverviewParamedics have often been considered, particularly by other urgent health professionals, at an advantage for having the ability to administer a wide range of therapeutic interventions. This ranges from the relatively innocuous aspirin to intravenous opiate analgesia, in the form of morphine. However pharmacology, or the study of drugs, is an area of the traditional paramedic training curriculum that has been lacking in recent years. This Continuing Professional Development (CPD) module aims to provide an introduction to some aspects of clinical pharmacology. Pharmacology touches on a number of other areas, such as mathematics, basic physics and chemistry and an awareness of the anatomy and physiology of some key organs, such as the kidney and liver. These particular subject areas may not necessarily appeal or be the most interesting to study and as such pharmacology can detract some individuals from further exploration of this fascinating aspect of clinical care. Pharmacology is really about a journey—the journey of a therapeutic intervention, or drug, from its humble inception in a laboratory test tube, through years of extensive and thorough research and development, to the marketing of a clinically effective drug that has the ability to literally save lives and stem the spread of illness and disease. This module will describe and outline the journey of the drug, from administration, describing the effect it has on the body, interactions, contraindications and how this impacts on clinical practice.Learning OutcomesAfter completing this module you will be able to:▪ Have an overview and understanding of the basic principles of pharmacology.▪ Have an awareness of the concepts of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics.▪ Revised your anatomy and physiology of the kidney.▪ Begin to develop your awareness of some of the professional issues related to paramedic administration of drugs in prehospital care.

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