What is Clinical Pharmacology?
Clinical Pharmacology is the medical discipline that focuses on safe, effective, and cost-effective use of medicines. Clinical Pharmacologists are concerned with the therapeutic application of medication knowledge gained from evidence-based research, to the bedside for improved and individualised patient care.
Who are Clinical Pharmacologists?
Clinical Pharmacologists are specialist medical doctors, specifically trained in the science of pharmacology and its application in clinical settings. Clinical Pharmacologists promote and facilitate the rational, safe, cost-effective and evidence-based use of medicines in the individual patient as well as the patient population. Clinical Pharmacologists bridge the gap between research and clinical application.
What do Clinical Pharmacologists Do?
Clinical Pharmacologists are involved in various spheres of healthcare, including clinical care of patients, undergraduate and postgraduate education, medicine regulation/policy; and research. Clinical Pharmacologists are trained to integrate medication knowledge, such as the risk/benefit analysis of therapy, evidence-based medicine, and the cost-effectiveness of medicines which contribute to rational and safe drug selection. They are experts in medicine safety and toxicology, advising on the diagnosis and management of common toxicities. They also have a special skill-set to understand and manage drug-drug interactions, provide calculated dose predictions of medications, therapeutic drug monitoring; and navigate the difficulties of prescribing in special populations. Part of this skill-set also enables Clinical Pharmacologists to work in various aspects of drug development and clinical trials.
How Do I Become a Clinical Pharmacologist?
An intensive four-year postgraduate specialist training programme is currently offered by Stellenbosch University and the University of Cape Town, but other Universities are also in the process of starting training programmes. Entrance into the registrar training programme requires HPCSA independent medical practitioner registration.
The four-year Master of Medicine (MMed) in Clinical Pharmacology training programme includes multifaceted Part I and Part II exams, as well as a Part III research component. There is also a compulsory Colleges of Medicine fellowship examination requirement i.e. Fellow of the College of Clinical Pharmacologist (FCCP)
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