(Continued from last week)
4. To use this knowledge of treatment to ensure that only the required drug in required quantity and at the required time is effected.
The failure to use drug at the required time can lead to drug misuse. Whereas the failure to use drug at the required time as well as required quantity leads to drug abuse. In this case the user depends on the drug for pleasure. This attitude leads the user to drug dependence which is a serious societal problem as in the case of drug addiction. I will write extensively on this malaise in my subsequent editions.
To prevent this phenomenal occurrence, the thorough knowledge of drugs becomes obvious. A branch of Science which specializes on drug is called Pharmacy and an expert on this Pharmacy is called a Pharmacist.
Pharmacy is derived from Old French word farmacie – substance, such as food or in the form of a medicine. It is also from Latin word Pharmacia and from Greek “Pharmakeia” pharmacy is also charged with discovery, production, disposal, safe and effective use and control of drugs.
From my explanation above Pharmacy has been in existence in ancient time. Before the advent of the modern standardized regulation of Pharmacy, the practitioners were known as Druggists, Apothecaries, or Chemists.
PHARMACY AS THE SCIENCE OF DRUGS
Pharmacy is a Clinical Health Science that links Medical Science with chemistry. It has different areas which together makes the study of drug complete.
We can obtain drugs from natural origins E.g animals and plant. The branch of Pharmacy that does this is called “Pharmacognosy”.
Again, the drugs that have been identified from natural sources can be analyzed in the laboratory in order to get the chemical structure of the active ingredient. This structure can be tinkered also in the laboratory to know if there is any possibility of synthesizing it or even modifying the drug to get a better one.
The branch of pharmacy which does this is called Pharmaceutical chemistry. The drug that is brought from natural source or synthetic one can be better prepared in a way it can be consumed by patients- human being or animals. This branch of Pharmacy is called “Pharmaceutics”. This area can be extended further to ensure that the drug one is taking is devoid of dirt and contaminations. This leads us to Pharmaceutical Microbiology and it is very useful in quality control laboratory of Pharmaceutical industries.
Again, the advancement of Pharmaceutics to ensure a better quality drugs, as well as large scale production has created room for a branch of Pharmacy called “Pharmaceutical Technology”. This branch ensured quality tableting, syrup production, sustained ( Long time) released dosage formulation and many other dosage formulation.
When the drug is produced, another branch of Pharmacy will endeavor to find out the actions of the drug on different body functions. This study of the action of drugs on the body system is called Pharmacology.
When we add together the intricacies involved in a drug- poisonous nature of drug, we can call on toxicology. It must be mentioned that it is this branch of Pharmacy, Pharmacology and Toxicology that other medical personnel share in knowledge. This is why a Medical doctor, a Nurse or Medical lab. Scientist can talk about drugs.
The extension of the knowledge of drug on body systems ( Pharmacology) to the treatment of ailing body – titration of the actual quantity of each drug and duration required to cure a given ailment creates what in medicine is called Therapeutics.
The branch of Pharmacy dealing with this is called Clinical Pharmacy, The management of pharmacy as a whole is called Pharmacy Management. The laws guilding the practice of Pharmacy is called Forensic Pharmacy.
It is worthy to mention that there are many other courses that are undertaken before one graduates as a Pharmacist.
PROSPECTS IN PHARMACY
As a Pharmacist you can work in any of these sections:
i. General Practice _ Community Pharmacy, their symbol is green cross with RX on the Cross.
ii. Hospital – Hospital Pharmacy
iii. Industries– Industrial Pharmacy
iv. Pharmacy school – Lecturers, as Academic Pharmacy.
v. Government Agency – e.g National Agency for food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), Ministry of Health e.t.c
vi. Pharmaceutical Journalism – Writing and publication of Pharmaceutical materials e.g Pharmanews, Emdex. B.N.F e.t.c.