Field of Science

Book review: Pharmacology for Chemists

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Pharmacology for Chemists: Joseph G. Cannon, Oxford University Press, 2007

This book is a one stop shop for chemists wanting to be familiar with the essentials of pharmacology. Cannon also adopts the same perspective, always giving stress on the chemical basis of the action of drugs, as well as neurotransmitters, hormones and intracellular signalling molecules. The first part of the book deals with general principles, which Cannon beautifully explains in a nutshell. Topics include the blood-brain barrier, drug receptors, pharmacological assays, metabolic inactivation and modifications of drugs by organs, basic pharmacokinetics, and properties of membranes and cells. The latter part is focused on particular systems. It is especially in discussing the central nervous system that the book really shines. Cannon talks in detail about the neurochemistry and physiological action of several important neurotransmitters and their agonists & antagonists. He also discusses the most important diseases arising from malfunctioning of the CNS. The chemistry of addiction also receives due exaplanation. Later chapters include discussions of cardiovascular drugs and drugs which are used to treat asthma and allergies.
Pharmacology is a vast science, and it not possible for a utilitarian chemist to work through the grand tomes on the subject to get what he wants. Cannon's book largely remedies this situation, and provides him with the essentials, without overloading him with information. This slim volume is a must on the shelves of medicinal chemists, biochemists and any professional working in, or interested in drug design.

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