PHM 440- Principles of Drug Action


Factors influencing drug action. Absorption, distribution, and elimination. Factors controlling intensity, selectivity and nature of drug action. Mismatches of drug presence and drug action including receptor-effector coupling mechanisms and mechanisms of drug tolerance. Offered first half of semester. Course objective is to have students learn the principles of pharmacology in human and other animals without discussion of specific drugs or drug classes.


  • Pharmacokinetics - Drug administration, distribution, metabolism and excretion
  • Pharmacodynamics - Drug binding to receptors, drug effects through receptors
  • Dose-response relationships
  • Issues of drug safety
  • Unexpected effects - Drug tolerance and drug interactions

Recommended Background

Chemistry and/or Physiology background recommended.


CEM 251 or CEM 252 or PSL 250 or PSL 310

Recommended Textbooks

None required


Dr. Peter Cobbett received his BS and PhD degrees from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. His research interests have ranged from muscle of parasitic worms, to physiology of neurons and glia in mammilian brains, and most recently to neurons derived from non-neuronal somatic cells.


Online Summer




  • Undergraduate

Sections available

  • 730 MSU program Students
  • 731 Lifelong In-State
  • 732 Lifelong Out-State