Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

A Pharmacokinetics Module Taught within a Pediatrics Pharmacotherapy Course

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

A Pharmacokinetics Module Taught within a Pediatrics Pharmacotherapy Course

Article excerpt


Applying foundational science materials into patient care activities within the classroom can be challenging, especially with large class sizes and minimal resources and time to conduct smaller-group activities. The Association of the Faculties of Pharmacy of Canada and the Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs' Accreditation Standards and Guidelines for the First Professional Degree have defined educational outcomes, and the need to align with the views of the Blueprint for Pharmacy, a collaborative initiative led by the Canadian Pharmacists Association that outlines a vision for the future of the profession in Canada. (1-3) These standards and guidelines establish that Canadian core pharmacy curricula must encompass pharmaceutical sciences content, including pharmacokinetics.

The Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of British Columbia offers a 4-year entry-topractice bachelor's degree in pharmacy. Since 2005, the 3-credit-hour course Pediatric and Geriatric Drug Therapy has been required in the third year of the program. In this course, students receive approximately 18 hours of pediatric pharmacotherapy instruction.

Others have described the extent of pediatric pharmacotherapy content in pharmacy curricula in Canadian and US colleges and schools of pharmacy. (4-6) In a review of 65 US colleges and schools of pharmacy, Bahal-O'Mara and colleagues noted a range of 1-25 contact hours of pediatric topics in required courses within the various programs. (4) Similarly, the extent of pediatric education varied extensively in Canadian faculties of pharmacy, with a range of 5 to 40 hours of pediatric topics in required courses. (5) In a 2005 opinion paper about the quality and quantity of pediatric pharmacy education in US colleges and schools of pharmacy, the American College of Clinical Pharmacy Pediatrics Practice and Research Network recommended that pediatric content be introduced early on in the curriculum, with the provision of at least 25 hours of classroom instruction in core pediatric topics. (7)

With a limited amount of structured class time for students to develop the skills and knowledge to provide quality pharmaceutical care to this special population, the syllabus for the Pediatric and Geriatric Drug Therapy course was strategically developed and subsequently has been modified to ensure key topics are covered to prepare novice pharmacists to provide effective, quality pharmacotherapy outcomes to pediatric patients upon entering practice. In the pediatric population, understanding patients' pharmacotherapy needs requires an understanding of the pharmacokinetics and dynamics in a growing neonate, infant, and child; and the importance of a drug's palatability, appropriate formulation, dose calculations, and appropriate use.

Students are introduced to basic concepts in pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics in their first year of the program. In the second and third years, non-linear kinetics, 1-and 2-compartment models, and drug metabolism and metabolizing enzymes are taught. More indepth clinical applications of pharmacokinetics are also part of the third-year curriculum. The course instructors observed, however, that pharmacy students often understood pharmacokinetic concepts but lacked the ability to apply these skills in clinical practice, including to dosage requirements.

In the pediatrics course, learning objectives related to pharmacokinetics included: defining the pediatric age groups and describing how at each stage, the pediatric patient differs from an adult patient; describing the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic alterations on drug disposition and therapeutic outcome in the pediatric patient; and applying this knowledge to the management of drug therapy in the pediatric patient. Students develop a conceptual understanding from their previous pharmacokinetic course work as well as from specific classroom sessions regarding pediatric pharmacokinetics, and subsequently apply their knowledge to explain why the dosing of certain drugs differs between various pediatric age groups and/or adults. …

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