Principles of Pharmacology

I.     Course Prefix/Number: BIO 244

       Course Name: Principles of Pharmacology

       Credits: 2 (2 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

BIO 232 with minimum grade of C or concurrent enrollment in BIO 232.

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course introduces pharmacology, primarily for students in allied health fields. Content includes an introduction to terminology, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, drug category, use, and side effects.

IV.   Learning Objectives

After successfully completing this course, the student should be able to:

  1.  Explain the principles of pharmacokinetics related to medication administration.
  2. Contrast the routes of drug administration with inclusion of proper terminology.
  3. Summarize the therapeutic and side effects of major drug categories.
  4. Summarize policies, regulations, and legal standards relative to drug administration.
  5. Explain the basics of body systems, related diseases, and representative drugs used for treatment.
  6. Analyze medication information with the use of online drug references (ie.,,, etc).
  7. Explain major drug interactions.
  8. Explain mechanisms of actions for major drug categories.

Learning Outcomes

By the completion of your biology courses at Oakton, you will have gained the experience to.....

  1. Think critically – identify, define, analyze, interpret, and evaluate ideas, concepts, information, problems, solutions, and consequences. This includes the ability to compute and comprehend quantitative information and to engage in the scientific process.
  2. Communicate – communicate ideas, concepts, and information through written and oral means. Collaborate with people of diverse backgrounds and abilities.
  3. Demonstrate literacy – demonstrate the ability to read critically within content areas. Use technology to locate, evaluate, and communicate data, information, ideas, and concepts. Assess, critique, and select from a variety of information resources.
  4. Demonstrate responsibility – demonstrate an understanding of personal responsibility and ethical behavior in one’s own academic and civic life.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  1. Introduction - Chapters 1-2
    1. Terminology
    2. Basic concepts
    3. Nomenclature
    4. Biological factors that affect drug action
  2. Autonomic Nervous System - Chapters 5 - 7
    1. Basic physiology review
    2. Basic pathophysiology
    3. Drugs affecting the sympathetic nervous system
      1. Adrenergic agents
      2. Adrenergic-blocking agents
    4. Drugs affecting the parasympathetic nervous system
      1. cholinergic agents
      2. cholinergic-blocking agents
  3. Central Nervous System – Chapters 10-20
    1. Basic Physiology Review
    2. Basic Pathophysiology
    3. Anesthetics and analgesics
      1. general anesthetics
      2. local anesthetics
      3. narcotic analgesics
      4. non-narcotic analgesics and anti-inflammatory agents
    4. Central nervous system depressants
      1. sedative/hypnotic agents
      2. antipsychotic and anti-anxiety agents
      3. antidepressant agents
    5. Antiepileptic agents
    6. Antiparkinson agents
    7. Central nervous system stimulants
  4. Cardiovascular/Renal System – Chapters 21-26
    1. Basic physiology review
    2. Basic pathophysiology
    3. Cardiac glycosides
    4. Antiarrhythmic agents
      1. Class 1
      2. Class 2
      3. Class 3
      4. Class 4
      5. Others
    5. Antianginal agents
    6. Antihypertensive agents
    7. Diuretic agents
  5. Blood – Chapters 27, 30, 45, and 46
    1. Basic physiology review
    2. Basic pathophysiology
    3. Anticoagulants and coagulants
    4. Antianemics
    5. Antineoplastic agents
    6. Immunosuppressants and stimulants
  6. Respiratory System – Chapters 31-32
    1. Basic physiology review
    2. Basic pathophysiology
    3. Antiallergenic and antihistaminic agents
    4. Bronchodilators
    5. Antiasthmatic agents
  7. Gastrointestinal System – Chapters 29, 33, and 34
    1. Basic physiology review
    2. Basic pathophysiology
    3. Hypolipidemic agents
    4. Antacids and acid controllers
    5. Management of GERD and ulcers
    6. Antidiarrheals and laxatives
    7. Antiemetic agents
  8. Endocrine System – Chapters 35-40
    1. Basic physiology review
    2. Basic pathophysiology
    3. Adrenal steroids
    4. Gonadal hormones and contraceptives
    5. Thyroid and antithyroid agents
    6. Parathyroid hormones
    7. Pancreatic hormones and antidiabetic agents
    8. Pituitary hormones and agents
  9. Antimicrobials – Chapters 41-44
    1. Antibacterial agents
    2. Antiviral agents
    3. Antifungal agents
    4. Antiprotozoal agents
    5. Antiseptics and disinfectants

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

May vary depending on instructor, but can include:

  • Lecture supplemented by AV materials and/or handouts
  • Class discussion where students are expected to participate by asking pertinent questions and to respond to questions asked of them

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

May vary depending on instructor, but may include:

  • attendance at all class sessions
  • submission of all assignments on time
  • attainment of passing grades on examinations

 Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Hitner and Nagle, Pharmacology: An Introduction, 6th edition, McGraw Hill, 2012. ISBN: 9780073520865

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

May vary depending on instructor, but can include:

  • Objective lecture exams
  • Written assignments
  • Class attendance and participation

XI.   Other Course Information

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.