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Pharmacology and Pathophysiology I

Explore the impact of pharmacological agents on physical therapy patient management.

Differing medications and dosages can affect how a patient responds to physical therapy. Develop a foundation of knowledge of the pharmacotherapeutics of drugs so you can understand how drugs affect the body, and how the body affects drugs.

Physical therapists play an important role in medication management. In fact, you may spend much more time with your patients than other health care professionals do, allowing you to see the effects of medications. You’ll learn to recognize medication indications and possible adverse effects so you can communicate any findings or concerns with other health care providers regarding patients’ experiences with drug or food interactions, or symptoms they have during physical therapy.

In your practice, you likely encounter patients who have recently been under anesthesia, as well as those who have been prescribed muscle relaxant medications. You’ll examine the potential adverse effects of these medications, how they may impact a patient’s abilities to participate fully in rehabilitation, and what adjustments may need to be made.

Sedative hypnotic medications and anti-anxiety medications have a general depression effect on the central nervous system (CNS). You’ll examine how these types of drugs can affect a patient’s alertness. You’ll also consider special concerns for rehabilitation patients who have seizure disorders, the action and adverse side effects of a variety of anti-seizure drugs, and the risk of seizure and environmental stimuli.

Sample Topics

  • General principles of pharmacology
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Receptors
  • Introduction to CNS pharmacology
  • Sedative hypnotics and anti-anxiety agents
  • Anti-epileptics
  • Antidepressants
  • General and local anesthetics
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Pharmaceutical industry

Topics are subject to change.

Sample Assignment

You’ll complete a research-based project that consists of either a drug reference database/spreadsheet or an analysis of a specific class of drugs, with focused attention on a drug within that class.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Examine different patient presentations indicating need of prescription and non-prescription medication.
  2. Explain how medications and their adverse effects and drug interactions might impact physical therapy intervention.
  3. Evaluate the possible role of the physical therapist in prescribing medication.
  4. Illustrate modifications to patient/client examination and re-examination based on pathologic changes and interpretation of signs and symptoms related to drug side effects.
  5. Explain pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics for selected medications.
  6. Highlight the effect of exercise and diet on drug metabolism.
  7. Indicate lifestyle choices effect on drug response and drug metabolism.
  8. Compare different medication classes used to treat single diagnoses/conditions.
  9. Assess the different methods of administration of different drugs and describe how drug administration can impact drug pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics.
  10. Discuss how one would revise physical therapy strategies and interventions based on changes in pathology, pathophysiology, or response to medications.
  11. Formulate educational strategies for patients/clients regarding prescription and non-prescription medications, herbal remedies, and nutritional supplements and their impact on physical therapy intervention.
  12. Compose your reflections and thoughts regarding the pharmaceutical industry.
  13. Examine how using a Model of Disablement can assist in identifying pathologies and consider a diagnosis that takes epidemiology into consideration.
  14. Examine the role that core values/ethical behaviors and professional communication play in relation to conflict resolution, negotiation skills, and networking.
  15. Critique, analyze, and assess the quality and validity of a research article.

Programs that include this course