Types Of Pharmacology

There are different types of pharmacology. Often confused with pharmacy, pharmacology is a separate discipline in the health sciences.

You can find pharmacology everywhere, when you visit the dentist and when you take any type of medicine.

Pharmacology is responsible for painkillers, caffeine drinks, and antibiotics. The discipline encompasses the sources, chemical properties, biological effects, and therapeutic uses of drugs. These effects can be therapeutic or toxic, depending on many factors.

Pharmacologists are often interested in therapeutics, which focuses on the effects of drugs and other chemical agents that minimize disease, or toxicology, which involves the study of adverse, or toxic, effects of drugs and other chemical agents. Keep reading to know more about pharmacology, pharmacologist, types of pharmacology, and so on.

Scope Of Pharmacology

Pharmacology is the study of the action of drugs on a biological system. It incorporates components of medicine and biology, and how they interact with each other.

Drugs can refer to many different substances and are defined as any substance (man-made, naturally occurring, or endogenous molecules) that exerts an effect on a cell, tissue, or organ within the body.

Pharmacology deals with the origin of drugs, their characteristics, and their effects, such as biological, chemical, or therapeutic, on a living system.

Pharmacology is distinct from the pharmacy. It refers to the science of the discovery and characterization of substances that affect the body.

On the other hand, pharmacy refers to the health services that use the concepts of pharmacology to improve health outcomes in a clinical setting.

Types Of Pharmacology

There are two main types of pharmacology:

  • 1. Pharmacokinetics:

The word Pharmacokinetics is derived from two words, Pharmacon meaning drug and kinetics meaning putting in motion.

It can be defined as the branch of pharmacology that deals with the absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion of drugs and their relationship with the onset, duration, and intensity of the drug effect.

What the body does to the drug is pharmacokinetics. For example, the absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion of Paracetamol are included in Pharmacokinetics.

  • 2. Pharmacodynamics:

Pharmacodynamics is the type of Pharmacology that deals with the mechanism of action of the drug and the relation between the drug concentration and its effect.

It is the study of the physical and chemical effects of drugs on the body, parasites, and microorganisms.

What the drug does to the body is pharmacodynamics. For example, adrenaline acts on adrenal receptors to stimulate the adenyl cyclase system producing effects such as cardiac stimulation and hyperglycemia is studied in Pharmacodynamics.

Other types of pharmacology

There are other types of pharmacology. They are

  • 3. Therapeutics:

This is one of the types of pharmacology that deals with the art and science of the treatment of disease. It is the application of pharmacological information together with the knowledge of the disease, for the prevention and cure of the disease.

  • 4. Chemotherapy:

Chemotherapy refers to the treatment of diseases by chemicals that kill the cells, especially those of microorganisms and neoplastic cells. It is classified into two divisions:

  • Antibiotics

Includes the choice of drugs most potent against the organism or least toxic. Examples include Erythromycin given for gram-positive organisms and Aminoglycans for gram-negative organisms.

  • Antineoplastics

Examples include:

Methotrexate, which is anticancer drug. It inhibits the dihydrofolate reductase and interferes with DNA synthesis and repair.

Vinca alkaloids, bind tubulin of microtubules and arrest mitosis in metaphase.

  • 5. Toxicology:

Toxicology is one of the types of pharmacology which includes the study of adverse effects of drugs on the body. It deals with the symptoms, mechanisms, treatment, and detection of poisoning caused by different chemical substances.

The main criterion is the dose. Essential medicines are poisons in high doses and some poisons are essential medicines in low doses.

  • 6. Clinical Pharmacology:

Clinical pharmacology is the scientific study of drugs in man. It includes pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic investigations in healthy or diseased individuals. It also includes the comparison with placebos, drugs on the market, and surveillance programs.
The main objectives are:

  • Maximize the effect of the drug
  • Minimize the adverse effects
  • Promote the safety of prescription

Aims include:

  1. Generate optimum data for use of drugs.
  2. Promote usage of evidence-based medicine.

Clinical pharmacology is a sought-after subspecialty of pharmacology used in clinical research and clinical trials. New vaccines, drugs, and therapeutics undergo clinical pharmacological screening and other related processes to ensure public health and safety when using these products.

  • 7. Pharmacy:

Pharmacy is one of the types of Pharmacology and is the art and science of compounding by dispensing drugs and preparing suitable dosage forms for administration to man and animals. The health profession blends health science with chemical science and the effective use of drugs.

  • 8. Pharmacognosy:

Pharmacognosy is the identification of drugs by just seeing or smelling them. It is a crude method no longer used. It deals with the drugs in crude or unprepared form and studies of properties of drugs from natural sources or identifies new drugs obtained from natural sources.

  • 9. Pharmacoeconomics:

Pharmacoeconomics deals with the cost of drugs. In this discipline, the cost of one drug is compared with another for the same use. Cheap drugs are preferred.

  • 10. Pharmacogenetics:

This is one of the types of pharmacology dealing with the genetic variations that cause differences in drug response among individuals or populations.
An example includes succinylcholine which is a skeletal muscle relaxant used in general anesthesia. It is metabolized by pseudocholine esterase and has a short duration of action.

The presence of enzyme is determined by the gene and lack of this is recessively inherited. This may lead to respiratory paralysis, apnea, and death.

Another example of pharmacogenetics is deploying PEG crosslinkers to help maintain cell viability in organ and tissue engineering applications. Pharmacologists can now deliver pharmacological agents for regenerative medicine, including tissue engineering.

In regenerative medicine, therapeutic agents, bio-inks, and cells combine to achieve a cure rather than temporary relief. Bio-inks refer to materials utilized to create artificial or engineered live tissue. With PEG crosslinkers, pharmacologists can promote optimal cell health by manipulating bio-ink material properties.

PEG crosslinker and bio-ink integration can improve the therapeutic performance of stem cells, tissues, and organs for genetic engineering pharmacologic applications.

  • 11. Pharmacogenomics:

Pharmacogenomics is the broader application of genomic technologies to new drug discovery and further characterization of older drugs.
Recombinant DNA technology involves the artificial joining of DNA of one specie to another. E. coli is mostly used. In this way, you can get huge amounts of drugs in a purified form which is less antigenic. Examples include GH, interferon, and vaccines.

  • 12. Pharmacoepidemiology:

Pharmacoepidemiology deals with the effects of drugs on a large population. The effects may be good or harmful. It is conducted in three ways:

  1. Observational cohort studies
  2. Case-control studies
  3. Phase trials
  • 13. Comparative Pharmacology:

This is one of the types of pharmacology dealing with the comparison of one drug to another belonging to the same or another group.

  • 14. Posology:

Posology deals with the dosage of drugs. An example includes paracetamol given as one tablet of 500mg thrice a day.

  • 15. Animal Pharmacology:

Animal pharmacology is a type of pharmacology that deals with the different properties of drugs in animals.

A vast variety of animals are utilized including rabbits, mice guinea pigs, etc. Drugs are given to the animals and all parameters (their behavior, activities, vital signs, etc.) are recorded. Any change is noted down. If found to be useful in animals, then the drug is tested on humans.


Pharmacologists research the effects that chemicals have on living organisms and figure out how and why we could use them as drugs.

They might use their knowledge and discoveries to place their findings in a social context – working within a hospital or in connection to the government and other regulatory bodies. Or they might stick to the lab, drawing connections between (bio)chemistry, physiology, neuroscience, and medicine.

To work in pharmacology is to improve and even save the lives of humans and animals. It can be very rewarding work. But it is also an area of high responsibility, with multiple economic, social, and legal pressures to juggle.

Pharmacologists Salaries

The national minimum doctoral stipend for 2022/23 is £16,062, but some employers pay more.

  • Salaries for postdoctoral positions in academia typically range from £28,000 to £40,000.
  • Lecturers with the right combination of qualifications and experience can earn over £55,000.
  • Working at a senior level or with significant experience in the industry can attract salaries of £35,000 to more than £80,000.

The salary of pharmacologists increases further depending on experience, certifications, medical training, and additional duties and responsibilities. The company’s size, location, employment scheme, and reputation are also important considerations.

Reasons To Study Pharmacology.

Here’s a close-up look at five reasons you might choose to study pharmacology.

1. It’s an innovative and exciting field

There will always be something new to discover in pharmacology. This is the field that pushes healthcare forward, driven by our fundamental need to reduce suffering and extend the length and quality of our lives.

But while pharmacologists may be pioneers, they do not work in a vacuum. Advances in pharmacology are themselves driven by discoveries in other science fields, as we learn more about the world and build better tools for research and production.

For example, great leaps in genetic profiling over recent decades are fueling a new future of bespoke diagnoses and treatments.

At the testing stage, simultaneous testing of different body systems within the same subject is now possible. More accurate data collection, modeling, and analysis are helping pharmacologists to create safer, more effective pharmaceuticals, faster.

Beyond developing new pharmaceuticals, innovative researchers are also investigating the effects of environmental pollutants and using drugs to probe cell and organ functions – all under the umbrella of pharmacology.

2. You will be making a difference in people’s lives

Good health is arguably the single-most-important factor in the quality of life. Health is also one of society’s big class divides, with poorer people suffering worse health and paying more for pharmaceuticals.

But pharmacology has the potential to treat or prevent disease, reduce the hazardous effects of pesticides, and discover and distribute information to help people (and animals) lead longer better lives.

The most vulnerable people in our society are also those most at risk of medication problems. Seniors and pregnant women take more medication and are more likely to suffer harm or reduced effects when their drugs interfere with each other.

Medicines for children have been seen to lack adequate testing and labeling. Different ethnic groups can also respond differently to particular medications, which is problematic if they have been excluded from the testing process.

Smart, responsible, and driven scientists can improve the lives of these people (and everybody else). Good pharmacology leads to a sum reduction of pain, suffering, and the economic woe of sickness, even in many developed countries.

3. There’s significant diversity within the field

If you already have a BSc in another scientific field, there’s a pretty good chance it is relevant to further studying pharmacology. And if you are interested in a particular area of health or physiology, again, there is a niche for you in pharmacology.

For example, behavioral pharmacologists look at how drugs affect behavior and how behavior can influence the effects of drugs. Biochemical pharmacologists look at how the chemicals in medicines operate on the level of biosynthetic pathways.

You can specialize in pharmacology related to just about any organ or body system, to key illnesses and treatments, and in the ways, pharmacology is applied in a clinical setting. You can work on the relationship between genes and pharmacology, or research the efficacy and function of ‘traditional’ medicines and cures. Pharmacology is, in short, an endlessly fascinating field.

4. You’ll get to work alone and as part of a team

There’s a place for you in pharmacology, whatever level of human interaction you prefer to have each day. Pharmacists are available to see customers and colleagues around the clock in a variety of settings from the home to the clinic. Researchers work as part of a team. They may spend different degrees of their time alone in the lab or collaborating, sharing ideas, and advising colleagues and clients.

If you have a favorite way to work, you’ll be able to find a good balance somewhere in the wide world of pharmacology – and be able to meet plenty of fascinating people along the way.

5. You’ll enjoy many career opportunities and job security, too

When you’re qualified to work in pharmacology, your opportunities are boundless. Jobs are plentiful in a wide variety of settings and niches. The job security factor is high, as people will always need drugs and push for better, more affordable medicines.

With a master’s in pharmacology, you might:

  • Work in a pharmacy or hospital
  • continue to research or teach in academia
  • research, consult, or project-manage in the industry
  • become a policy advisor or analyst, do regulatory work, or specialize in public affairs and public relations for the government
  • work as a patent lawyer or technology transfer specialist
  • project manage, advise, or issue grants while working for a non-profit foundation
  • write or edit books and articles about pharmacology.

With so many scientific areas in which to specialize, your pharmacology career could be long and varied or deep and focused.

FAQs about the Types Of Pharmacology

See below for the answers to the most asked questions about the different types of Pharmacology;

  • What is the purpose of pharmacology?

The purpose of pharmacology is to determine the effectiveness and safety of drugs designed to treat, prevent, or diagnose diseases. This includes the drug dosages, frequency of dosages, adverse effects, and how the drugs affect different populations of people.

  • What does pharmacology mean?

Pharmacology is the study of drugs or medicine. Drugs are chemicals designed to treat, prevent, or diagnose a disease. This includes drug names, how they work, and adverse effects.

  • What is the study of pharmacology?

Pharmacology is the study of drugs or medicine. There are two main types of pharmacology. These are pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics.

  • What are the main types of pharmacology?

Following are the important types of pharmacology:

  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Pharmacodynamics


Pharmacology is a broad field of science and medicine. It has evolved over time, giving birth to subfields specializing in different therapeutic scopes. Learning what pharmacology is, its branches, benefits, and career opportunities can help you better understand this field, allowing you to make more informed decisions as a patient, a healthcare provider, or an aspiring pharmacologist.

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