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What is the Difference Between a Pharmacologist, and a Pharmacist?

By Admin
Published: January 21, 2011

Although the two things sound very similar, pharmacists and pharmacologists are two very different fields. They both relate to medication and how the medicine affects the patient. However, one of them deals more with the chemical interaction of the drug and one deals more with the way that the medicine affects the disease that the patient has.

Found below is a more in depth look at both of these fields and a further explanation of what each of these professionals does.

Pharmacist

Pharmacists are licensed health professionals that are able to provide the necessary information to both other health care personnel and to consumers. They are known as the medicine experts who are concerned with management of disease states and making sure that the public is safe when they distributed and using the medicine. In order to become a pharmacist in the United States, all graduates are required to have a PharmD degree and pass a license examination given by the state.

Even though their responsibilities are going to vary among pharmacy practice's areas, pharmacists help patients in getting well. The responsibilities of the pharmacist include patient care, which includes dispensing their medication to monitoring their progress and health to maximizing the response they have to the medicine.

They also educate their patients and consumers on the use of both over the counter medicines and prescriptions, and give advice to nurses, doctors, and other professionals in the health care field on decisions regarding medicine. Pharmacists provide their expertise regarding drug composition, which includes physical, biological and chemical properties as well as their use and manufacture. Pharmacists ensure the purity of their drugs and their strength, and ensure that the medication won't cause a negative drug interaction. They are concerned about the wellness and health of their patients.

The goal for pharmacists is to achieve outcomes that are positive from using medicine to improve the life quality of a patient with low risk to the patient. Some of the goals that pharmacists strive for are:

  • Curing disease
  • Reduce or eliminate symptoms
  • Slow or arrest the process of a disease
  • Disease prevention
  • Disease diagnosis
  • Alter the physiological processes for a desirable result in the health of a patient.

Pharmacologists

Pharmacologists study how drugs interact with the living systems. Pharmacologists are very essential and a big part of pharmacy and it's known as a major study area in pharmacy curriculum. Pharmacology helps students learn how doses of medical substances affect the body, along with various ways that medicine can be introduced to someone. Pharmacology is different than toxicology, which studies poisons and how they can be overcome.

Some of the questions that are answered by pharmacologists are the following:

  • What's the molecular action site
  • What changes does a drug make in organs and tissues and how they function normally
  • What's the relationship of a drug's dose and the drug's effect
  • What are the ways that drugs produce the effects that they have
  • Once the drug enters the body, what happens to it

Because of the fact that a drug is usually defined as a kind of chemical that will interact with a living system, the subject has a quite broad relevance that goes from importance in disease treatment and diagnosis to impact of both environmental chemicals and abuse substances on society.

Are you trying to decide whether you want to become a pharmacist or a pharmacologist? One of the things that you should ask yourself is if you are someone who likes to interact with people or you are someone who would rather work behind the scenes. If you are someone who is more people oriented, then you would probably enjoy becoming a pharmacist. However, if you like the technical side of things more, than perhaps pharmacology is more for you.

Both of these fields are very different but they are also both very important to doctors, nurses, and also to the patients that they affect. The medical field could not do with just one of them -  pharmacists are needed for their interaction with people and pharmacologists are needed for their knowledge of drug interaction. They work together to make sure that their patients are safe and that they are able to get the best care possible.

If you are looking for a career that has a lot of impact in the lives of people, then becoming a pharmacist or a pharmacologist might be the right career for you to pursue. 

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