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Principles of Drug Action & Development I

PHA 6935 Principles of Drug Action & Development I

Credits: 3


Students are shown how to predict the solubilities, structure-activity relationships, basic synthesis routes for selected structures, metabolism and pharmacological activity/potency of drug classes and individual members of classes based on the contribution of their functional groups to their structures. In particular, anticoagulants, ACE inhibitors, glucocorticoid steroids, nitrate esters, adrenergics, cholinergics, diuretics, anesthetics, antihyperlipidemics, muscle relaxants, anxiolytics, antidepressants, sedative hypnotics and vitamins are covered.

This course incorporates concepts essential to the drug design & development process for the above-mentioned drug classes:

  • Preparing students for communication with other stakeholders in drug development by identifying current drug targets and applying mechanism of drug action.
  • Solidifying concepts in drug-target interactions through pharmacophore design and applications of rational drug design to optimize a structure for clinical testing.
  • Increasing the clinical and marketing success of a drug structure by optimizing pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties in early drug development.
  • Facilitating an in-depth understanding of medical and clinical concepts important to cross talk and engagement with other stakeholders during the development stages.

Course Goal

The high volume of prescription drugs on the market indicates a need for an understanding of essential concepts related to the mechanism of action and structure-activity relationship of currently available drugs as well as projection of future targets for drug development. An in-depth understanding of blockbuster drug classes such as the statins, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) including future directions for structural modifications and new applications is at the core of Pharmaceutical Chemistry 1. Students will be able to comprehensively describe drug classes discussed in this course which will enable them to effectively communicate with other scientists, medical professionals, and management during the drug development process.


PHA 6432 Fundamentals of Pharmaceutical Chemistry


Module Topic
Module 1 General principles
Module 2 Diuretics
Module 3 Anticoagulants
Module 4 Cardiovascular drugs – Vasodilators
Module 5 Cardiovascular drugs – Antihyperlipidemics
Module 6 Glucocorticoid steroids
Module 7 Vitamins
Module 8 General and local anesthetics
Module 9 Central nervous system – Adrenergic agents
Module 10 Central nervous system – Cholinergic agents, Anticholinergics, Skeletal muscle relaxants, Antialzheimer agents
Module 11 Central nervous system – Antipsychotics and Antiparkinson agents
Module 12 Central nervous system – Antidepressants, serotonin drugs and anxiolytic agents

Course Structure

Group discussion forums, online chat sessions, asynchronous mini-lectures, online timed quizzes, interactive animations, and individual e-mail contact between student and instructor. Students will be required to submit written essay assignments as well as complete timed quizzes. The instructor will also be frequently available for one-on-one virtual office hours.

Recommended Materials

There is no single recommended text for this course. Helpful textbooks include:

  • Goodman & Gilman’s The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics
    Author: Laurence L. Brunton, Bruce A. Chabner, Bjorn Christian Knollmann
    Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional; 12th edition (2010)
    ISBN: 978-0071624428
  • Foye’s Principles of Medicinal Chemistry
    Author: Thomas L. Lemke, David A. Williams, Victoria F. Roche, S. William Zito
    Publisher: Wolters Kluwer, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 6th edition (2008)
    ISBN: 9780781768795

Library Access

Distance Education and UF Online Students enjoy the same library privileges as on-campus students. To utilize the University of Florida Library System, click here!

At a Glance