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Pharmacology and Pathophysiology II

Understand the effects of pharmacological agents on the human body.

It’s not uncommon for a physical therapy patient to be taking mediation to treat one or more conditions like chronic pain, heart disease, arthritis, or high blood pressure. In this course, you’ll examine the therapeutic and adverse effects of medications for these health issues and explore how these pharmacological agents impact physical therapy and patient management.

Conditions affecting the cardiovascular system can be treated with many different medications. You’ll review the autonomic nervous system (including its primary anatomic and physiologic aspects) and understand how its components relate to the cardiovascular system. You’ll also examine cardiac system physiology to realize how cardiac medications are activated. You’ll recognize the different cardiovascular systems with which each class of anti-hypertensive medications acts and consider how the side effects can influence physical therapy.

Opioid analgesic medications can be effective for pain relief, but are also highly addictive. You’ll consider the many classes of opioid medications as well as the pharmacotherapeutics of opioid drugs. As you evaluate how opioids can impact a patient’s ability to participate in physical therapy, you’ll also explore addiction to, tolerance for, and physical dependence on, these medications.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and glucocorticoids are also used to relieve pain. You’ll understand how these drugs exert their therapeutic effect and appreciate the benefits and adverse effects of both steroidal and nonsteroidal medications in helping a patient participate in their own physical therapy.

You’ll appraise disease processes and medications used to treat arthritis, a frequent diagnosis in older patients. As you come to understand the etiology behind rheumatic and osteoarthritic joint disease, you’ll look at additional risks and considerations in a patient taking disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDS) and disease-modifying osteoarthritic drugs (DMOADs). Hormones and medications prescribed for respiratory conditions can also affect a patient’s capacity for physical therapy and you’ll review these types of medications as well.

Sample Topics

  • Introduction to opioid analgesics
  • NSAIDs, endocrine pharmacology and steroids
  • OA and RA
  • Autonomic and cardiovascular pharmacology
  • Anti-hypertensives and angina
  • Treatment of heart failure
  • Male and female hormones and respiratory medications
  • Pharmaceutical marketing influence

Topics are subject to change.

Sample Assignment

You’ll complete an 8-10 page paper as a final project for this course. You may analyze a unique pathology of interest to you and the drug therapies used in its treatment. Alternately, you may choose to complete a comprehensive case report based on a patient/client under your care, and the pathophysiology and medication interventions used to treat this client.

Learning Outcomes

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

Programs that include this course