Course Description

Pharmacology in Rehabilitation: Basic Principles


Charles Ciccone

Wrote the book entitled: Pharmacology in Rehabilitation

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Course Description

This content area addresses drugs that affect the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems. Cardiovascular medications are grouped according to their primary mechanism of action, and will include the diuretics, beta blockers, vasodilators, ACE inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, nitrates, and digitalis glycosides. Drugs used to control coagulation disorders will then be addressed, followed by the pharmacologic management of hyperlipidemias. This course then discusses pulmonary medications, such as drugs used to control respiratory irritation and secretions (antitussives, decongestants, mucolytics, expectorants, antihistamines), drugs that promote bronchodilation (beta agonists, xanthines, anticholinergics), and drugs that decrease airway inflammation (glucocorticoids, cromones, leukotriene modifiers). This content area concludes with a survey of endocrine pharmacology, focusing on drug management of diabetes mellitus, androgens, female hormones, and thyroid disorders.


Upon successful completion of this content area, the therapist will:

  • Differentiate between the various types of cardiovascular drug categories, and summarize how each category can facilitate improvements in cardiovascular function.
  • List the primary side effects of cardiovascular drug categories, and relate how these side effects can influence the patient’s response to physical rehabilitation.
  • Describe how anticoagulant, antithrombotic, and thrombolytic medications affect blood coagulation, and how each type of drug is used clinically.
  • Summarize how various drugs that affect blood coagulation can exert positive and negative effects on patients undergoing rehabilitation procedures.
  • Understand how medications can improve plasma lipid profiles, and reduce the harmful effects of high cholesterol, high triglycerides, and other lipid disorders.
  • Describe how specific types of pulmonary medications exert positive effects on respiratory function, and how these effects reduce functional limitations and disability.
  • Compare and contrast the medications used to treat type 1 versus type 2 diabetes mellitus.
  • Understand how pharmacologic management can improve glycemic control and decrease acute and chronic sequelae to diabetes mellitus.
  • List the clinical indications for male hormones (androgens), and also relate why these drugs are sometimes used illicitly to affect body composition and athletic performance.
  • Identify the two primary types of female hormones (estrogens, progestins), and relate how these hormones affect reproductive function, cardiovascular health, and other physiological systems in women.
  • Describe how medications can be used to treat thyroid disorders, and how resolution of hyper- and hypothyroidism can improve health and well-being in patients receiving physical rehabilitation.
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