Neuropharmacology: from pathophysiology to pharmacotherapy

Course content

This course will cover the neurobiology and pharmacological treatment of major psychiatric disorders, disorders of sleep and chronic pain. For each disorder, students will learn about the neurotransmitters, receptors, and neurotransmitter interactions involved, as well as different hypotheses linking dysfunctional neural circuits to clinical symptoms.

Based on this, the course will focus on the pharmacological profiles of drugs targeting each disorder, specifically discussing how the diverse pharmacological actions couple to therapeutic efficacies and adverse side effects. In this regard, comorbidities, pharmacodynamic and -kinetic interactions with other pharmacotherapeutics, and individual life style differences, will also be adressed to discuss issues of contraindications.

For each disorder, current and potential future therapeutic principles and novel pharmacological targets will be discussed. In this regard, the challenges of drug discovery and development will be highlighted, including the choice of animal models to predict clinical efficacy and side effects.

Education

Elective course.
The course is geared towards students of pharmaceutical sciences (MSc in Pharmaceutical Sciences, Cand.scient.Pharm, or Cand.Pharm), but is open for students with other backgrounds, including Danish and international guest students.

Learning outcome

At the end of this course, students are expected to have acquired the following:  

Knowledge 

  • Ability to describe the structure and function of the brain, with emphasis on brain regions, neurotransmitters systems and their interactions.
  • Ability to describe the different types of psychiatric disorders, sleep disorders, and chronic pain states, including symptoms, the neurotransmitter systems involved, and pharmacological treatments, as well as knowledge about common animal models used in the research on the different types of psychiatric disorders, sleep disorders, and chronic pain states.

 

Skills

  • Ability to discuss the pros and cons of different pharmacological treatment approaches
  • Based on an in-depth understanding of the mechanisms of action of conventional treatments for the disorders covered in this course, the students are expected to be able to critically evaluate pros and cons of both current and novel pharmacotherapeutic strategies.

 

Competence

  • Ability to combine elements of their understanding to form ideas of new treatment strategies using available drugs.
  • Ability to combine elements of their understanding with other competences (obtained from e.g. other courses or from work experience) to explore novel pharmacological targets/treatment options.

Lectures and tutorials

Stahl’s “Essential Psychopharmacology”, 4th ed., 2013.

Selected scientific articles (original investigations and review articles) available at the course web page.

Students should have a fundamental knowledge of physiology and pharmacology.
All applications will be evaluated on an individual basis.

ECTS
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination, 2 hours under invigilation
A mix between multiple-choice questions, short-answer questions and questions requiring descriptions and evaluation (essay-type questions).
Aid

No aids are allowed

Refer to the IT exams homepage link where the standard programs and IT tools available for the students’ disposal during IT exams under The Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences are listed.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assessment

To achieve the grade 12 the student must be able to:

Knowledge 

  • Ability to describe the structure and function of the brain, with emphasis on brain regions, neurotransmitters systems and their interactions.
  • Ability to describe the different types of psychiatric disorders, sleep disorders, and chronic pain states, including symptoms, the neurotransmitter systems involved, and pharmacological treatments, as well as knowledge about common animal models used in the research on the different types of psychiatric disorders, sleep disorders, and chronic pain states.

 

Skills

  • Ability to discuss the pros and cons of different pharmacological treatment approaches
  • Based on an in-depth understanding of the mechanisms of action of conventional treatments for the disorders covered in this course, the students are expected to be able to critically evaluate pros and cons of both current and novel pharmacotherapeutic strategies.

 

Competence

  • Ability to combine elements of their understanding to form ideas of new treatment strategies using available drugs.
  • Ability to combine elements of their understanding with other competences (obtained from e.g. other courses or from work experience) to explore novel pharmacological targets/treatment options.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 60
  • Preparation
  • 90
  • Class Instruction
  • 10
  • Preparation
  • 20
  • Exam Preparation
  • 24
  • Exam
  • 2
  • English
  • 206