C H A P T E R 7
PHARMACOLOGY AND TOXICOLOGY
As you advance in rate, you will become more
and more involved with the intricacies of ad-
ministering medicines. Although the drugs and
their dosages are prescribed by the medical officer
and other authorized prescribers, you, as the
hospital corpsman, are involved in their ad-
ministration. It is necessary for you to learn their
sources, composition, methods of preparation and
administration, and physiologic and toxicologic
action. This chapter is concerned primarily with
the action, use, and dosage of drugs.
The subject of pharmacology was known as
Materia Medica until 1890 when the current term
began to come into use. The subsciences of phar-
macology and their specific fields of study are as
quality, purity, and identification of drugs.
PHARMACY.The preparation, stability,
preservation, and storage of pharmaceutical
POSOLOGY.Dosage or amount of drug to
of living tissue to chemical stimulation in the
absence of disease. This almost exclusively deals
with research and development.
tion of drugs on living tissue in the presence of
disease; treatment of the sick.
The texts dealing with pharmaceutical
preparations include the United States Phar-
macopoeia and National Formulary (USP-NF)
which provides standards for drugs of therapeutic
usefulness and pharmaceutical necessity. Inclu-
sion of drugs into this compendia is based on
therapeutic effectiveness and popularity. It pro-
vides tests for identity, quality, strength, and
The Physicians Desk Reference is a multiple
index of commercially available drugs and is used
as an advertising outlet for various drug manufac-
turers. Pharmaceutical preparations are described
as to composition, action and use, administration
and dosage, precautions and side effects, dosage
forms available, and the common (generic) name
of the drug.
Remingtons Pharmaceutical Sciences is prob-
ably the most widely used text/reference in
American pharmacy. It contains all areas relevant
to the art/science of pharmacy. The Pharmaceuti-
cal Basis of Therapeutics (Goodman and Gilman)
is a textbook of pharmacology, toxicology, and
therapeutics known as the blue bible of
The quantity of a drug to be administered at
one time or the total quantity administered and
the method of administration of drugs is depen-
dant upon several factors. This section will cover
some of the methods of administration and some
of the factors affecting dosage calculations.
TOXICOLOGY.The toxic or poisonous ef-
fects of substances.
The art of treating disease by any method that
will relieve pain, cure disease, or prolong life is
called therapeutics. Although the average person
thinks solely of giving or taking medicine in this
respect, it must be remembered that therapy also
includes other methods, such as radiological treat-
ment, diathermy, hydrotherapy, and many more.
The amount of medication to be administered
is referred to as the dose. The study of dosage and
the criteria which influence it is called posology.
The doses given in the United States Phar-
macopoeia and National Formulary (USP-NF) are
average therapeutic doses and are known as