Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

MEDSCI 722 - Clinical Pharmacology

15 Points

Semester 2


The disposition and action of medicines in humans of all ages will be explored, as well as adverse reactions, effects of pregnancy, medicine classification, and evaluation of clinical trials. Emphasis is placed on understanding the sources of variability of medicines and the use of target concentration intervention.

This course deals with clinical pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics; disease progress and variability in drug response; adverse drug reactions; writing of scientific articles and clinical trial evaluation; clinical trial design and analysis. Drug disposition and action in neonates, children and in pregnancy will also be considered. Emphasis is placed on the use of medicines in humans and application of clinical pharmacology to drug development.

This is an advanced course in pharmacology and it is assumed that students taking the course are familiar with the basic facts of drug disposition, pharmacokinetics and mechanisms of drug action covered in MEDSCI 301, MEDSCI 302 & MEDSCI 303. The paper will cover clinical pharmacology in special populations; toxicology and adverse drug reactions; the effects of disease progression on pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics; the evaluation of clinical trials and individualization of treatment. There will be a particular focus on the use of clinical pharmacology in drug development.

Course materials

Course materials are provided electronically via the lecturer's website. To allow flexible learning, lecture notes have been converted to HTML and are available for reading and printing by clicking on the link to the required lecture within the Timetable Page. This should be fine for most users and should allow you to read and print the lecture notes if required.

Most of the reading that you should be doing for this paper should be of recent papers and reviews. However useful background reading may be found in:

  1. Avery's Drug Treatment, 4th edition, Eds. Speight & Holford (Adis International), 1997
  2. Clinical Pharmacokinetics. Concepts and Applications, 3rd Edition, Eds., Rowland & Tozer. (Lea & Febinger), 1995
  3. Basic and Clinical Pharmacology, 13th Edn. Ed. B. Katzung. (Lange Medical Books/McGraw Hill), 2014
  4. Principles of Clinical Pharmacology, 3rd Edn. Ed. A. Atkinson et al. (Academic Press), 2012

You must also be able to use the Philson library's Medline Search Service and Current Contents. Tutorials for using these services can booked online at Library Course Bookings


Assessment will consist of course work (25%) and a final exam (75%).

  1. 25% Coursework (essay - Critical Review of A New Zealand Medicine Data Sheet)
  2. 75% Final Exam (3 hours)

Course Director