Unit code: RBM3800 | Study level: Undergraduate
(Generally, 1 credit = 10 hours of classes and independent study.)
St Albans
RBM2540 - Pathophysiology 2 (applicable for HBBM students ONLY)
RBM2560 - Medical Biochemistry (applicable for HBBM, HBBS students ONLY)
RBM2800 - Cardiorespiratory and Renal Physiology (applicable for HBBS students ONLY)
Pre-requisites not applicable for HBPA students.
(Or equivalent to be determined by unit coordinator)


The unit begins with an introduction to the general principles of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. A wide range of drug groups will then be studied with attention focused on the pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, clinical uses, and side effects of each drug. Aspects relating to medicinal chemistry, toxicity testing, clinical trials and requirements for the admission of new drugs are covered in topics that relate to new drug development. Pharmacokinetics, pharmacogenetics, sensitivity and resistance to drug therapies are further topics that address variation in drug outcomes. Social drug abuse and types of drug dependence are also discussed in this unit.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Describe the general principles of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics;
  2. Identify and explain the mechanism of action for the major drug groups affecting (autonomic nervous system, cardiorespiratory system, clotting, kidney, gastrointestinal system, endocrine system, mood, signal conduction, inflammation, cell cycle (cancer, anti-microbials), to then provide relevant examples;
  3. Conceptually map the processes involved in new drug development and requirements for the admission of new drugs; and
  4. Demonstrate hands on laboratory excision skills.

Study as a single unit

This unit can be studied on its own, without enrolling in a full degree.

Learn more about single units of study at VU


For Melbourne campuses

Assessment type: Review
Grade: 30%
Written assignment (1000 words)
Assessment type: Test
Grade: 20%
Three Online theory MCQ tests
Assessment type: Practicum
Grade: 20%
Wet lab surgical coronary excision practice
Assessment type: Case Study
Grade: 30%
Case study activity (2 hours)

Required reading

Fundamentals of Pharmacology
Bullock, S.,& Manias, E. (2016)| Pearson Education Australia

As part of a course

This unit is not compulsory for any specific course. Depending on the course you study, this unit may be taken as an elective.

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