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News - 05 Jan 2016

An interview with the authors of Physicochemical Principles of Pharmacy

Physicochemical Principles of Pharmacy
We talk to Alexander T Florence and David Attwood, authors of the new 6th edition of Physicochemical Principles of Pharmacy: In Manufacture, Formulation and Clinical Use.

Pharmaceutical Press: Congratulations on the publication of Physicochemical Principles of Pharmacy 6th edition. After the success of the previous edition, can you elaborate on the changes made to this edition?

Authors: This new edition is the result of a considerable revision to cover the basic physicochemical principles from the production of dosage forms to clinical use. One thing that has not changed is our conviction that an understanding of the science of pharmacy is essential for practice in the future, especially as drugs and medicines become more, not less, complex.

We have introduced a more extensive treatment of solid dose formulation and processing with sections on the properties of powders, such as powder flow, mixing and granulation, relevant to the formulation and manufacture of tablets and capsules. The scope of the text has been expanded to include case studies and more extensive discussions of clinical examples of the physical phenomena which form the basis of this text. The view that chemistry is somehow anachronistic in pharmacy is refuted in our expanded treatment of adverse reactions which have a chemical or physicochemical basis, for example oesophageal damage, drug precipitation after administration, diffusion of molecules such as botulinum toxin, adverse effects to excipients, and photosensitivity.

New chapters have been added on paediatric and geriatric formulations, generic medicines and biosimilars. In our updating of the text we have included newer drugs and drug classes in current clinical use, with more extensive discussion of monoclonal antibodies and other protein drugs, and further emphasis on medical devices such as medicated stents. The nanotechnology chapter has been revised to reflect clinical progress in this area.

Pharmaceutical Press: This subject is a widely-taught subject at universities, which also means competition. What makes this book so different?

Authors: Our revised text contains a broader and more in-depth coverage of the basic principles relevant to every aspect of pharmaceutics, from dosage form design and manufacture to drug delivery and clinical use, than other European undergraduate texts.

Teaching aids such as worked examples, key points, case studies, clinical points and memory diagrams make this an ideal text for teaching the essentials in the undergraduate curriculum, while the depth of the treatment of the physical chemistry underlying the subject, the inclusion of derivations of the more important equations and the cross referencing to literature sources should satisfy the needs of those students, both undergraduates and postgraduates, who wish a more detailed understanding of the physicochemical principles.

We also believe that, unlike many student textbooks covering this subject, ours benefits from having only two authors which gives a greater uniformity of style and treatment of content. The text distills our collective experience in teaching and research refined since the first edition appeared in 1981.

Pharmaceutical Press: In your opinion, who will benefit from this book and why?

Authors: The revision of our text reflects the changes in the curriculum of UK undergraduate courses in pharmacy with its greater emphasis on clinical issues and an integrated approach to the teaching of pharmacy. We have, however, retained and indeed expanded our discussion of the basic physical chemistry relevant to the properties of drugs in solution, their stability in both liquid and solid dosage forms and the formulation and properties of a wide range of solid and liquid dosage forms and so hope that the book will also continue to be used in undergraduate and postgraduate pharmacy courses throughout the world and also by the increasing number of students in similar disciplines interested in pharmaceutical formulation and the properties of medicines.

Pharmaceutical Press: Do you have any tips for lecturers on how to use this book when teaching and how to get the most out of this title?

Authors: We have used several aids to learning throughout the text. Each chapter starts with a brief section outlining the learning objectives and concludes with a summary of the important points covered in the chapter. "Key points" boxes scattered throughout each chapter briefly summarise the important facts using bullet points. Worked examples and memory diagrams are included to assist in linking topics. Figures have been selected carefully to illustrate the text.

Students should be encouraged to make full use of these learning aids and also to attempt the multiple choice questions in our revision guide FASTtrack: Physical Pharmacy and also questions relevant to this text on the ONtrack website.

Pharmaceutical Press: What would you say to your readers and students?

Authors: First read the Introduction to the book, which outlines our approach to this subject and explains the way in which the text is arranged. Yes, there are a lot of equations throughout the text which may at first sight be somewhat intimidating. They are, however, essential to a quantitative scientific approach rather than an empirical understanding of the topic. Many of the equations have been derived from first principles in a section at the end of the book which helps in understanding the limitations of their application.

You should find that the textbook is relevant to many aspects of the pharmacy curriculum as well as physical pharmacy and should aid in a broader understanding of both physical and clinical aspects of the pharmacy course.

Remember that medical and nursing degrees pay little or no attention to the topics covered in our text. To contribute to the clinical scene uniquely pharmacists must contribute a unique input to the properties of drugs, medicines and the nature of their behaviour in the body.

Pharmaceutical Press: What are the biggest challenges you faced, while writing this book?

Authors: The main challenges we encountered were the collection of the most relevant new information and ideas from the ever-expanding avalanche of literature and distilling these into a suitable form to be incorporated into a student text, and searching for suitable figures and diagrams which clearly illustrated salient points throughout the text.

Pharmaceutical Press
: And finally, what do you enjoy doing when you are not teaching pharmacy?

Authors: Between us the usual leisure activities include travelling, music, theatre, cinema, walking, reading - and of course thinking about the next edition of the text!

Buy Physicochemical Principles of Pharmacy here.

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