What Is Pharmacological Therapy?

Pharmacological therapy involves the use of medications.
Pharmacological therapy involves the use of medications. (Image: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Or Hiltch)

Pharmacology is "the science of drugs including their origin, composition, pharmacokinetics, therapeutic use, and toxicology." Pharmacologic therapy is medical care that involves the use of medications, either alone or in combination with other types of therapy.


In the United States, the study of pharmacology is usually done at universities. Students include medical students studying to be physicians and graduate-level students in the biomedical sciences.


Universities that offer training in pharmacology may divide the education into subdisciplines. These include cardiovascular, ocular, biochemical, neural, molecular, immunological, and environmental pharmacology.


Principles of pharmacological therapy concentrate on how the human body affects individual drugs, how drugs affect the body, and how drugs interact with each other. This knowledge helps physicians to use medications to keep patients healthy.


There are thousands of prescription and over-the-counter medications available in the United States. Pharmacological therapy concentrates on which types of medications are appropriate in different situations. Some medications are taken orally and some intravenously, for example. Some are taken once, twice, three times, or more per day. The person prescribing the pharmacological therapy must understand how these factors and others will affect the patient's health.

Nonpharmacological Therapy

Therapy that does not include medications is called nonpharmacological therapy. This can include lifestyle changes, such as diet, exercise, and control of smoking and drinking alcohol.

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