Pharmacology in modern medicine
Healthcare is a very complex field. From treating the common cold to conducting intricate surgeries to save lives, there is no way to overestimate the impact healthcare professionals have on the lives of people around the world. Some areas of healthcare are more prevalent than others, however. Areas such as pharmacology, for example, are falling behind. Pharmacology is incredibly important to public health and is used to discover effective drugs for everything from the flu to certain types of cancer.
Let’s look at the role of pharmacology in modern healthcare and how it is used to positively impact patients.
What is pharmacology?
Pharmacology is the study of how drugs interact with the human body to produce the therapeutic results that make them effective. Pharmacology professionals work in the discovery and application of drugs to serve as therapeutic agents and study both the adverse and beneficial use of these drugs. They might also study the impact of their deliberate misuse and how the increased use of drugs affects society.
Clinical pharmacology is a field that ties together many different professions, including physicians, nursing, pharmacists, and scientists across many disciplines. It is perhaps one of the most uniting disciplines in the medical field, and the cooperative nature of pharmacology has led to some incredibly important breakthroughs in public health.
The ways in which pharmacology impacts human health are varied. Below, we’ll examine some of the most common ways that pharmacology impacts modern healthcare.
It is a common and fair assumption to think that medical research is solely undertaken by doctors. While doctors do engage in some medical research and are knowledgeable and authoritative professionals in the medical field, they are not the only contributors to breakthroughs in medical practices. Pharmacists, as well as doctors, play a critical role in the discovery of new drugs and treatments to keep patients healthy.
For much of the latter half of the 20th century, pharmaceutical companies with research-based roots were effectively the sole source of new drug discovery and development. During this time, they discovered new drugs, developed them into usable medications to help specific conditions, and delivered them to doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals with the means and opportunity to use them. Pharmacology still plays this role today, but it has been joined by the rise of other disciplines to aid in the discovery process. The field of pharmacology remains an exciting and innovative one that serves as the source of incredibly important treatment updates.
Yet another role pharmacology plays in modern medicine is the distribution of drugs. Professionals in the field don’t only discover and deliver important drugs – they also ensure that the people who need them have access to them. This is probably the role most people think of when they think of pharmacology. The memory of walking through a drugstore in search of the pharmacy counter and turning in written prescriptions is likely one that we are all familiar with. Pharmacologists play a key role in monitoring and dispensing life-saving medications.
Why are pharmacists in charge of medication distribution and not doctors? There are a few reasons for this. First, leaving drug distribution to pharmacies unaffiliated with the doctors who prescribe them helps ensure patient safety. There is no way for anyone involved to profit from the prescription, so there is no reason to prescribe something that isn’t truly needed by the patients in question.
Another reason pharmacies are in charge of drug distribution comes down to logistics. Think about the last doctor’s office you visited. Was it a calm environment, or were there many people waiting to be seen? For many, the latter description is far more accurate. Doctors and nurses have dozens of patients to see daily, and they often don’t have the time to search for and dispense medications for their patients. Managing and dispensing prescriptions is a full-time job on its own, and that’s where pharmacists come in. Pharmacies take care of this step so that doctors and other healthcare professionals can focus on treating and diagnosing their patients directly.
Pharmacists and other pharmacology professionals study for a long time to learn how to safely and effectively dispense drugs; the process is more involved than you might think. In addition to discovering and developing medications, pharmacology professionals must also come up with ways to limit the intentional misuse of their products as well as ways to ensure that patients have access to appropriate medication. That kind of knowledge and expertise comes from extensive education. The online PharmD degree offered by the University of Findlay is a flexible course that offers prospective students the opportunity to work remotely and online, meaning they can fit their education around any work or social commitments. Accredited programs such as these are the perfect foundation for a long and successful career in pharmacology.
Clearly, there is a lot more to pharmacology than meets the eye. From discovering effective drugs and developing the techniques to use them safely to distributing medication once it has passed clinical trials, pharmacology professionals, are critical to the well-being of patients and society as a whole.
If you’re interested in a job in the field of pharmacology, you’re in the right place! Keep the information above in mind as you research the best option for you.