Core Concepts in Pharmacology, 5th Edition

Leland Norman Holland all

Core Concepts in Pharmacology, 5th Edition

By Leland Norman Holland, Michael Patrick Adams, Jeanine Brice
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For pharmacology courses that are part of practical and vocational nursing programs.

An interdisciplinary exploration of pharmacology.

By its very nature, pharmacology is a challenging interdisciplinary subject that requires understanding concepts from a wide variety of the natural and applied sciences to predict drug action. For this reason, authors Holland, Adams, and Brice have organised Core Concepts in Pharmacology according to body systems and diseases, placing drugs in the context of their therapeutic use. This gives students easier access to the prerequisite anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, and pharmacology organised in the same chapter where the drugs are discussed.


The 5th Edition continues its prototype approach of introducing, in detail, the one or two most representative drugs in each class. It also maintains a strong emphasis on safe, effective nursing care with a new chapter on preventing medication errors, features new Drug Focus boxes to cover emerging drugs, and includes many more new and updated features.


Leland Norman Holland, Jr., PhD (Norm), over 20 years ago, started out like many scientists, planning for a career in basic science research. Quickly he was drawn to the field of teaching in higher medical education, where he has spent most of his career since that time. Among the areas where he has been particularly effective are preparatory programs in nursing, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, and allied health. Dr. Holland is both an affiliate and a supporter of nursing and allied health education nationwide. He brings to the profession a depth of knowledge in biology, chemistry, and medically related subjects such as microbiology, biological chemistry, and pharmacology. Dr. Holland’s doctoral degree is in Medical Pharmacology. He is very much dedicated to the success of students and their preparation for work—life readiness. He continues to motivate students in the lifelong pursuit of learning.


I would like to acknowledge the willful encouragement of Farrell and Norma Jean Stalcup. I dedicate this book to my beloved wife, Karen, and my three wonderful children, Alexandria Noelle, my double-deuce daughter; Caleb Jaymes, my number one son; and Joshua Nathaniel, my number three “O”!  –LNH


Michael Patrick Adams, PhD, RT(R), is an accomplished educator, author, and national speaker. The National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development in Austin, Texas, named Dr. Adams a Master Teacher. He has published two other textbooks with Pearson Publishing: Pharmacology for Nurses: A Pathophysiologic Approach and Pharmacology: Connections to Nursing Practice.


Dr. Adams obtained his master’s degree in Pharmacology from Michigan State University and his Doctorate in Education at the University of South Florida. Dr. Adams was on the faculty of Lansing Community College and was Dean of Health Professions at Pasco-Hernando State College for over 15 years. He is currently Adjunct Professor of biological sciences at Pasco State College and Hillsborough Community College.


I dedicate this book to nursing educators, who contribute every day to making the world a better and more caring place. –MPA



Jeanine L. Brice, RN, MSN, has been a nurse for over 30 years, initially graduating from the registered nursing program at Charles County Community College. She then continued her nursing education, receiving a BS from the University of Maryland and an MSN from Bowie State University, specializing in nursing education and community health practice. Her clinical experience includes acute medical-surgical care, obstetrics, neonatology, and pediatric public health.


Ms. Brice has been involved in nursing/technical health education for over 26 years, formerly holding the positions of Professor of Nursing, Assistant Dean of Nursing Programs, and Coordinator of Technical Health Programs at Pasco-Hernando Community College. She currently is employed at St. Petersburg College and Hillsborough Community College as an adjunct professor of biological/health sciences.


I dedicate this book to my parents, William and Helen Davis, whom I had the privilege to care for during their final days … and to all those who will need the care of a nurse. May the information contained in this book help them receive competent and compassionate nursing care.  –JLB


Focuses on core information to concisely communicate the most important pharmacologic information.

  • The body systems and disease approach organises all relevant anatomy, physiology, pathology, and pharmacology in the same chapters where the corresponding drugs are discussed. This helps students easily locate all the information they need to know about a topic, learn more quickly, and gain a deeper understanding of the relationships between scientific concepts and real-world drug applications. 

  • Numbered Core Concepts—stated at the beginning of each chapter, throughout the chapter, and repeated at the end—provide a road map of the anatomy, physiology, and pathology concepts students need to understand today’s key drug therapies.

  • Concept Review Questions placed strategically throughout each chapter promote comprehension and retention, giving students timely feedback on whether they are grasping each key concept.

  • Drug Snapshots provide an at-a-glance list of the drug classes and related prototype drugs covered in each chapter, giving students instant access to basic information about each class of drugs.

  • REVISED! End-of-chapter NCLEX-PN®-style questions have been fully revised, serve as a post-test for the chapter, and help prepare students for the NCLEX-PN®. Complete rationales and NCLEX-style metadata are provided in an appendix.

  • Case Study Questions help the student apply pharmacology and nursing care to specific client scenarios.

  • UPDATED! A robust Glossary provides updated definitions of all key terms.

Takes a prototype approach to drug therapy, covering the one or two most representative drugs in each classification.

  • UPDATED! Drug coverage and prototypes have been updated or adjusted to reflect modern drug usage.

    • Prototype Drug boxes present detailed coverage of the most representative drugs in each class, giving students the insight they need to understand an entire category of drugs and avoiding overwhelming students with the sheer number of options available in each category. They also include both therapeutic and pharmacological drug classifications, as well as Black Box Warnings to alert students to extremely adverse reactions associated with the drug.

    • Drug tables provide the most important information for each drug in a user-friendly format. Drugs profiled within that chapter are also identified with a Prototype icon.

Highlights key information for safe, effective nursing care.

  • NEW! A new chapter, "Preventing Medication Errors," recognises the critical role of healthcare providers in contributing to safe medication practices.

  • REVISED! The Nursing Process Focus charts have been completely revised to reflect current nursing practice.

    • Succinct and easy to read, these charts provide the most important nursing actions for the commonly prescribed drug classes.

    • Highly accessible information on assessment, diagnosis, planning, interventions, patient education, discharge planning, and evaluation, helps students quickly understand which nursing actions are most important in addressing each type of disease or complaint, and what to do at each step of the process.

  • Patients Need to Know boxes cover essential drug information and at-home drug administration techniques, helping students teach patients and families how to succeed with the medication that has been prescribed for them.

  • UPDATED! Safety Alert features highlight potential medication errors and The Joint Commission National Patient Safety Goals.

  • NEW! Lifespan and Diversity margin features provide important pediatric, older adult, and specific disorder considerations for drug therapy, so students understand variations in nursing care and drug actions.

  • CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicine) Therapy boxes identify popular herbal or dietary supplements that may be considered along with conventional drugs, helping students respond to the growing number of patients who are interested in alternative medicine, without compromising the level of care they are providing.

  • Fast Facts boxes offer a social and economic perspective that gives students broader insight into the patients and diseases they are encountering. This helps students appreciate their patients as “whole people” in the context of their lives and challenges.

  • NEW! Drug Focus boxes cover how new emerging drugs work, how they can be used, and how they may be better than what was used in the past.

Table of contents
  • UNIT 1: Basic Concepts in Pharmacology
  • 1. Introduction to Pharmacology: Drug Regulation and Approval
  • 2. Drug Classes, Schedules, and Categories
  • 3. Principles of Drug Administration
  • 4. What Happens After a Drug Has Been Administered
  • 5. The Nursing Process in Pharmacology
  • 6. Preventing Medication Errors
  • 7. The Role of Complementary and Alternative Therapies in Pharmacology
  • 8. Substance Abuse
  • UNIT 2: The Nervous System
  • 9. Drugs Affecting Functions of the Autonomic Nervous System
  • 10. Drugs for Anxiety and Insomnia
  • 11. Drugs for Emotional, Mood, and Behavioral Disorders
  • 12. Drugs for Psychoses
  • 13. Drugs for Degenerative Diseases and Muscles
  • 14. Drugs for Seizures
  • 15. Drugs for Pain Management
  • 16. Drugs for Anesthesia
  • UNIT 3: The Cardiovascular and Urinary Systems
  • 17. Drugs for Lipid Disorders
  • 18. Drugs for Electrolyte and Acid-Base Imbalances
  • 19. Drugs for Hypertension
  • 20. Drugs for Heart Failure
  • 21. Drugs for Angina Pectoris, Myocardial Infarction, and Stroke
  • 22. Drugs for Shock and Anaphylaxis
  • 23. Drugs for Dysrhythmias
  • 24. Drugs for Coagulation and Hematologic Disorders
  • UNIT 4: The Immune System
  • 25. Drugs for Inflammation and Fever
  • 26. Drugs for Immune System Modulation
  • 27. Drugs for Bacterial Infections
  • 28. Drugs for Fungal, Viral, and Parasitic Diseases
  • 29. Drugs for Neoplasia
  • UNIT 5: The Respiratory and Digestive Systems
  • 30. Drugs for Respiratory Disorders
  • 31. Drugs for Gastrointestinal Disorders
  • 32. Drugs for Nutritional Disorders and Obesity
  • UNIT 6: The Endocrine and Reproductive Systems
  • 33. Drugs for Endocrine Disorders
  • 34. Drugs for Diabetes Mellitus
  • 35. Drugs for Disorders and Conditions of the Reproductive System
  • UNIT 7: The Skeletal System, Integumentary System, and Eyes and Ears
  • 36. Drugs for Bone and Joint Disorders
  • 37. Drugs for Skin Disorders
  • 38. Drugs for Eye and Ear Disorders
  • Appendix A: Complete Answers and Rationales to Review and Case Study Questions
  • Appendix B: Calculating Dosages