The clinical uses of physostigmine are based upon the facts of its pharmacology, as above detailed.
In the monastic period pharmacy was to a great extent under the control of the religious orders, particularly the Benedictines, who, from coming into contact with the Arabian physicians, devoted themselves to pharmacy, pharmacology and therapeutics; but, as monks were forbidden to shed blood, surgery fell largely into the hands of barbers, so that the class of barber-surgeons came into existence, and the sign of their skill in blood-letting still appears in provincial districts in England in the form of the barber's pole, representing the application of bandages.
These assertions, and the total inadequacy of the pharmacology of colchicum, as above detailed, to explain its specific therapeutic property, show that the secret of colchicum is as yet undiscovered.
Despite the general recognition of these facts, the pharmacology of colchicum has hitherto thrown no light on the pathology of gout, and the pathology of gout has thrown no light upon the manner in which colchicum exerts its unique influence upon this disease.
Pharmacology And Therapeutics Of Zinc Compounds Zinc chloride is a powerful caustic, and is prepared with plaster of Paris in the form of sticks for destroying warts, &c. Its use for this purpose at the present day is, however, very rare, the knife or galvanocautery being preferred in most cases.
The motor nerves of the arteries, of the bladder and rectal sphincters, and also of the bronchi, are paralysed by atropine, but the nervous arrangements of those organs are highly complex and until they are further unravelled by physiologists, pharmacology will be unable to give much information which might be of great value in the employment of atropine.
The pharmacology of opium differs from that of morphine (q.v.) in a few particulars.
Systematic writers on the subject differ considerably in the exact meaning which they attach to the term pharmacology (41appaKov, a drug; Xayos, a discourse), some making it much more comprehensive than others.
Pharmacology is a branch of biology; it is also closely connected with pathology and bacteriology, for certain drugs produce structural as well as functional changes in the tissues, and in germ diseases the peculiar symptoms are caused by foreign substances (toxins) formed by the infective organisms present in the body.
It is impossible also to dissociate pharmacology from clinical therapeutics; the former investigates the agents which are used in the treatment of disease, the latter is concerned with their remedial powers and the conditions under which they are to be used.
Hence the word "pharmaco-therapy" has come into use, and most of the newer standard textbooks combine together the consideration of pharmacology and therapeutics.
Pharmacology is also related to toxicology, as many remedial and other agents are more or less poisonous when given in large doses, but it does not include the detection, tests, and the other strictly medico-legal aspects of poisoning.
Pharmacology proper began as the result of the application of strictly experimental methods to physiology.
In consequence, from the time of Magendie pharmacology may be said to have been put on a more exact basis.
The close alliance between pharmacology, therapeutics and clinical medicine has induced many authors to treat the subject from a clinical point of view, while its relationships to chemistry and physiology have been utilized to elaborate a chemical and physiological classification respectively as the basis for systematic description.
Cushny, A Textbook of Pharmacology and Therapeutics (1906); C. D.
Dixon, A Manual of Pharmacology (London, 1906).
In 1873 the Archiv fiir experimentelle Pathologie and Pharmakologie first appeared, in 1895 the Archives Internationales de Pharmakodynamie, and in 1909 The Journal of Pharmacology and Therapeutics (published at Baltimore, U.S.A.), all of which are chiefly or entirely devoted to pharmacology.
Pharmacology and Therapeutics.
At the present day most textbooks dealing with medicinal agents and treatment devote a large part of their space to pharmacology, and a corresponding change has taken place in the teaching of the subject in universities and medical schools.