BIO/14 - 9 CFU - 2° Semester

Teaching Staff

Office: Torre Biologica, Via S. Sofia 97, V piano sud.
Phone: 09573840858 cell. 3493911354
Office Hours: Giovedì 10-16

Learning Objectives

Aim of this course is to provide the knowledge of the basic principles of pharmacokynetics and pharmacodynamics. The course is also designed to provide a specific knowledge of the pharmacological and toxicological properties of herbal medicines and nutraceuticals including both indications and contraindications.

Course Structure

Frontal lessons.

Detailed Course Content

Introduction: definition of medicinal plant and current regulatory affairs


biological membranes. Barriers.

Drug absorption. Factors that influence the absorption.

Routes of administration.

Plasma protein binding.

Distribution of drugs.

Pharmacokinetic parameters (clearance, half-life, repeated dose toxicity, first pass effect, bioavailability and bioequivalence).

Drug metabolism.

Drug Elimination kinetics;

Variability in drug response.

PHARMACODYNAMICS: Mechanisms and site of action of drugs.


receptor function and variability of drug response.

Agonism, antagonism competitive and non-competitive, affinity, intrinsic activity, effectiveness. dose-response curves, effective dose, lethal dose, therapeutic index, safety.

pharmacological and therapeutic effects.

side effects, adverse reactions, overdose, intolerance to drugs, fetal toxicity; teratogenicity and carcinogenicity.

drug safety and phytovigilance.

Pharmacology and Toxicology of Herbs

Drugs that interfere with the autonomic nervous system (ANS)

sympathomimetic active drugs.

simpaticoplegici-sympatholytic drugs.

parasympathomimetics-cholinergic drugs.

parasympatholytic-anticholinergics drugs.

Drugs interfering with the motor system (Somatic): Neuromuscular blockers (curare, botulinum toxin, bungarotoxin), antiparkinsonian: anticholinergics, ergot alkaloids and dopamine agonists for the treatment of Parkinson's disease

Drugs acting on the Central Nervous System (CNS): stimulants, appetite suppressants, antidepressants (i.e. hypericum), anxiolytics, cholinesterase inhibitors in Alzheimer's disease, cannabis, cocaine, opiates, hallucinogens, caffeine.

Drugs acting on the Cardiovascular System: digitalis, hawthorn, chronic venous insufficiency drug treatment (horse chestnut, pine, pennywort)

Drugs affecting glucose metabolism and lipid: statins, phytosterols, garlic, artichoke, guggul gum, greek hay, fermented red rice; guar gum

Drugs affecting calcium metabolism and bone diseases: phytoestrogens (classification, mechanism of action and possible use in menopause)

Drugs affecting the respiratory system: expectorant, anti-asthmatics (i.e. theophylline).

Antigout (colchicine).

anti-inflammatory drugs and autacoids. (Analgesics and antipyretics)

adaptogenic and immunostimulant drugs: ginseng and echinacea

gastrointestinal drugs: purgatory (with particular attention to the anthraquinone laxatives), antidiarrheal.

dermatological drugs for the treatment of psoriasis: Aloe


Antineoplastic (i.e. vinca alkaloids and taxol) and carcinogens.


Textbook Information

A.J Trevor-B.G Katsung -S, Farmacologia, Piccin, Nona edizione 2012, pp 1-51.

Capasso--Grandolini-Mascolo, Fitoterapia, Impiego razionale delle droghe vegetali, 2006, Springer

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