Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2011 Postgraduate - Unit

4 points, SCA Band 3, 0.0833333 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
OfferedClayton First semester 2011 (Day)
Clayton Second semester 2011 (Day)
Coordinator(s)A/Professor T Norman


A revision of basic pharmacological principles of pharmacokinetics & pharmacodynamics covering the relevance of age, gender, ethnicity, common drug interactions, environmental influences, and route of administration. The unit covers major drug types commonly used in psychiatric practice including the underlying neurochemical basis for use in specific disorders and specified primary target syndromes & symptoms. Students are taught identification and measurement of psychotropic-induced common side effects, use of specific antidotes for common conditions, and use of instruments used to rate side effects. Prescribing patterns in Australia and prescribing guidelines/pitfalls are also discussed.


During this selective students will:

  1. Develop knowledge of the basic pharmacological principles and their relevance to clinical prescribing.
  2. Gain a deeper understanding of the theoretical underpinnings of the common psychiatric disorders such as depression and psychoses, and the underlying basis for the use of specific psychotropic medications.
  3. Learn to critically analyse the literature on drug trials.
  4. Learn a rational and practical approach to prescribing psychotropics including the management of side effects, the drug-resistant patient, use in the medically unwell and elderly patient.


100% attendance is required, 1500 word essay

Chief examiner(s)

Associate Professor T Norman

Contact hours

3 hour lecture weekly and 3 hours studying prepared course material.


MPM Year 1 units