pharmacology and toxicology

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pharmacology and toxicology

Postby A. Wyzandrea » Thu Apr 16, 2015 10:02 pm

What's the similarities and differences between pharmacology and toxicology?
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Re: pharmacology and toxicology

Postby D.X. » Fri Apr 17, 2015 11:46 am

To be very simple, Pharmacology is the study of chemical interactions with biological systems to understand any therapeutic benefit. Toxicology is the same study of chemical interaction with biologic systems with the aim to understand toxic risk.

Similarities is that as you can see, they both study drug mechanism or action but with different outcome focus. Some of the differences can be dose related, so pharmacologic studies at certain doses might yield a certain therapeutic effect (a benefit), where as studies of say higher doses of the same drug may yield in more risks or toxic events.

Just to keep it simple. This is when we start talking effective dose 50, and lethal dose 50 in terms of drug dose and response. Though not all toxic responses are lethal, a toxic response can be any negative side effect.

The dogma of pharmacology is that all drugs or substances are toxic, its just the dose that determines benefit over risk.

Simple example, water. Another, suger. So obviously a common thread can be dose at which a drug is studied. It can get more complex in terms of chemical profile, patient profile to include risk factors such as genetic predisposition or co-medication (drug interactions), etc etc. but both arms link together in terms of understand a drugs pharmacologic and toxicologic profile - at the clinical level we call it benefit risk profile, with the two thought camps working together.

Just because a drug or chemical is associated with toxicity does not mean it cant give therapeutic benefit i.e. BOTOX, one of the most toxic substances known to man is used for benefit (cosmetically and medically, such as for migrane) . Goes back to the dose story to keep it simple. So studying one field does not mean one doesnt touch on another.

Does that provide the insight you need?

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Re: pharmacology and toxicology

Postby Dave Walker » Sat Apr 18, 2015 8:30 am

Is this in terms of a major, like undergraduate college, or a post-college degree like MS or PhD?

In those cases, it didn't matter much to me. For the approximately 100 PhD students I knew during my thesis, all of us received a remarkably similar education. Our lab, studying cancer and genomics, had pharmacology and toxicology students in it doing very similar things.

Might be an institution-specific thing, but I doubt it. I remember giving FAR too much weight on what my doctoral diploma would say on it before I did any school visits.
"The single factor that differentiates Nobel laureates from other scientists is training with another Nobel laureate." -- Sol Snyder
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