Chapter 01: Orientation to Pharmacology Key Points: Print Chapter 1 first defines four basic terms of pharmacology: ?A drug is any chemical that can affect living processes. ?Pharmacology is the study of drugs and their interactions with living systems. ?Clinical pharmacology is the study of drugs in humans. ?Therapeutics is the use of drugs to diagnose, prevent, or treat disease or to prevent pregnancy. The chapter then goes on to discuss the properties of an ideal drug, therapeutic objectives, and the factors that determine the intensity of drug responses.
?The most important properties of an ideal drug are effectiveness, safety, and selectivity. ?If a drug is not effective (i. e. , it doesn’t do anything useful), it should not be used. ?Effectiveness is the most important property a drug can have. ?A safe drug is one that cannot produce harmful effects regardless of dosage. ?There is no such thing as a safe drug; all drugs can cause harm. ?A selective drug elicits only the response for which it is given. ?There is no such thing as a selective drug; all drugs can cause side effects. ?The objective of drug therapy is to provide maximum benefit with minimum harm. ?
Because all patients are unique, drug therapy must be tailored to each individual. The nursing considerations for Chapter 1 are: ?All patients are unique and may respond to drugs differently from the expected effect. The nurse must be diligent in assessing patients’ responses to pharmacologic intervention. ?Early identification of side effects allows for early intervention and helps prevent adverse responses. ?Correct administration is the key to preventing medication errors. Copyright © 2013, 2010 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.