Total Lecture Hours: 
Course Director(s):

Alan Cowan, Ph.D. /Co-Director: Michael Sirover, Ph.D.


Pharmacology deals with the properties and effects of drugs or, in a more general sense, with the interactions of chemical compounds and living systems. It is a discipline of biology and is closely related to other disciplines, particularly to physiology and biochemistry. The rational treatment of the vast body of knowledge concerning drugs and drug effects is the primary domain of pharmacology. 


  • To acquaint the podiatry student with drugs that are useful in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of human disease with special emphasis on therapeutic agents used in the practice of podiatric medicine. It is hoped that the students' knowledge of these drugs will provide a sound basis for their rational clinical use.
  • It is felt that all podiatry students should be able to attain the following objectives before entering his or her clinical years:
  1. To study some of the general principles pertaining to drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics.
  2. To learn the pharmacologic implications to the fetus of administering drugs to the pregnant mother.
  3. To see how the study of receptors relates to the nature of the drug-receptor interaction and the pharmacology of a drug.
  4. To review the physiology of the autonomic nervous system and how various drugs can affect this life sustaining system.
  5. To become familiar with agents used for diuresis and to examine the clinical implications of diuretic therapy.
  6. To identify and learn the types of hypertension and their causes where known and to identify the sites at which drugs may act in ameliorating hypertension.
  7. To classify according to mechanism of action drugs which affect cardiac rhythm and to master how these drugs affect strength-interval curves, refractoriness and vulnerability.
  8. To describe and understand the clinical situations in which the cardiac glycosides are used and develop the rationale for their use. Newer agents used for the treatment of CHF are also presented.
  9. To discuss and learn the pharmacologic properties and actions of drugs affecting the central nervous system and to consider the therapeutic rationale for using drugs to alter the function of the C.N.S.
  10. To be able to select a local anesthetic rationally, based on knowledge of its chemistry, mechanism and spectrum of action, and potential side effects.
  11. To present the pharmacological properties and therapeutic uses of opioids, opioid antagonists, and related analgesics. 12. To study and learn the physiological and biochemical factors involved in the use of inhalation anesthetic agents and to learn the properties of drugs used for general anesthesia.
  12. To study some of the general principles pertaining to toxicology and to become acquainted with several prototype compounds and how to approach the treatment for several types of poisoning situations.
  13. To examine past and current trends in the management of diabetes mellitus.
  14. To describe and learn the actions of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents and agents with analgesic and antipyretic properties not having anti-inflammatory effects.
  15. To discuss the causes of gout and the therapy which is instituted in its treatment.
  16. To be able to use antibiotics correctly in the treatment of bacterial infections as well as practical approaches to the control of drug resistance.
  17. To become familiar with the chemotherapeutic agents useful in neoplastic disease.
  18. To evaluate current trends in dermatopharmacology and how the podiatrist should make use of these trends.
  19. To understand the interaction of drugs with the ever growing number of over the counter medications. 


Pharmacology represents a new vocabulary for the student; however, it assumes the student is familiar with the basic principles of physiology, biochemistry and anatomy.


There are several reasons for considering pharmacology one of the increasingly important basic sciences of podiatric medicine. Large numbers of drugs are used in the practice of podiatric medicine. They cannot be applied intelligently or even safely without some understanding of their mode of action, side effects, toxicity, and metabolism. As powerful new drugs are introduced, the necessity for adequate pharmacological knowledge on the part of the podiatrist becomes increasingly mandatory.

Finally, pharmacology is also important in podiatry because of the commercial influences which will be exerted upon the future podiatrist in his selection of drugs. A good understanding of the principles of pharmacology should provide the student with a critical attitude and the ability to evaluate rationally the claims made for various new drug preparations.