Weekly study3 hours
The Science of Medicines
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What do you know about the medicines you take?
The world’s growing population faces major health issues, and medicines are a primary pillar to effect better health. Learn about the science of key medicines used to manage heart disease, depression, diabetes, pain control and smoking cessation.
See each health condition through the eyes of the patient
Week by week you will study a new medicine and health area, starting by looking through the eyes of an affected patient. You will learn the mechanics of a disease and how it affects the world’s population. You will then delve into the science of the medicine to explore the medicine’s chemistry, how it works in the body and why it is formulated in a certain way to become the medicine you see on the pharmacy shelf.
Learn from a diverse team of experts
This course is designed by a team of experts who focus on improving education for pharmacy students at Monash University, Australia. As pharmacists and scientists they bridge the interface between science and the patient.
A valuable course for patients, careers and healthcare workers
The course will be particularly relevant for those who are living with one of the health conditions covered, but it is also extremely valuable for those who care either professionally or personally for people affected by the conditions, as it covers practical patient tips drawn from the understanding of the science.
You can read more about this course in Ian Larson’s article “How much do you know about the medicines you are taking?” on the FutureLearn blog.
- The composition and roles of different members of a patient’s healthcare team.
- An overview of how the human body works and the key systems within it.
- An overview of the fundamentals of chemistry: elements, bonds, molecular structures and intermolecular interaction.
- The importance of the chemical design of medicines to their treatment of specific conditions (pharmacology).
- The importance of the design, delivery and dosage of medicines to their effectiveness (pharmaceutics).
- Diabetes and how hypoglycaemics work to treat it.
- Heart disease and how atorvastatin works to treat it.
- Pain and how morphine works to treat it.
- Smoking and how treatments for nicotine addiction work.
- Depression and how antidepressants work to treat it.
Date to be announced
Learning on this course
You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.
What will you achieve?
By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...
- Describe the physiological impact of common medical conditions on the human body.
- Investigate the chemical structures of modern medicines.
- Explain how the chemical structures of medicines make them effective in treating specific medical conditions (pharmacology).
- Explore how the design, delivery and dosage of medicines influence their effectiveness (pharmaceutics).
- Discuss the human aspects of taking medicines, including side effects and addiction.
Who is the course for?
No previous knowledge is necessary. Being a course about pharmacy, we discuss a number of important chemistry concepts in the course. If you haven’t studied chemistry for a long time, don’t worry - supporting references will be provided for extra background where needed.
Who developed the course?
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