Pharmacology for Physiotherapy aims to provide students with foundational knowledge of basic pharmacological principles as well as a greater understanding of commonly prescribed medications in musculoskeletal, pain, cardiorespiratory and neurological conditions, including mental health and palliative care. This will include medication name, class, mechanism of action, indications, common and relevant side effects, precautions and contraindications, and how to advise patients to safely and effectively take medications. Prescribing principles and rights relevant to Advanced Physiotherapy practice will also be covered.

Unit details

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Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Articulate foundational pharmacological principles and mechanism of action of commonly prescribed medications care;  
  2. Analyse and articulate the clinical indications and adverse effects of commonly prescribed medications;  
  3. Clinically interpret and elucidate how the use of medications can impact on the physiotherapy management of selected medical conditions; and  
  4. Contextualise medication taking behaviours across the lifespan, inclusive of indigenous and culturally diverse populations.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Test Test MCQ: (1 hour) 20%
Other Case study (750 word equivalence) 20%
Presentation Group Presentation (10mins) 30%
Test Test (MCQ and MEQ) (1.5 hour) 30%

Required reading

Pharmacology handbook for physiotherapists
Reznik, J. E., Keren, O., Morris, J., & Biran, I. (2016)

Where to next?

As part of a course

This unit is studied as part of the following courses. Refer to the course page for information on how to apply for the course.

VU takes care to ensure the accuracy of this unit information, but reserves the right to change or withdraw courses offered at any time. Please check that unit information is current with the Student Contact Centre.