The science of detection and measurement of the effects of drugs or other chemicals on biological systems. The effect of chemicals may be beneficial (therapeutic) or harmful (toxic). The pure chemicals or mixtures may be of natural origin (plant, animal, or mineral) or may be synthetic compounds.
The broad area covered may be conveniently divided into a number of categories: chemotherapy, the use of chemicals to destroy invading organisms such as bacteria and molds in or on the host; pharmacotherapy, the use of drugs to restore or replace normal function in various tissue cells, organs, or integrated units; pharmacodynamics, studies on the mechanism of action of drugs which may utilize physiological, biochemical, or electrical techniques; toxicology, the study of the poisonous effects of chemicals; psychopharmacology, the study of the effects of chemicals on the behavior of humans or animals; biochemical pharmacology, the effects of chemicals on biochemical reactions in living systems, and the effects of these systems on the chemicals, that is, their metabolism; structure-activity relationship, relationship of biological activity to chemical structure and molecular properties; and clinical pharmacology, the study and evaluation of the effects of drugs in humans.1
1McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and TechnologyA