Biochemistry vs. Pharmacology

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

This lesson is going to define biochemistry and then define pharmacology. Then you'll learn how the two are connected and how they are different as well.

Dreaded Undergrad Courses

Biochemistry and pharmacology. Two of the most dreaded undergraduate courses, at least for many people. These two topics are definitely interrelated, but they are not exactly the same. In this lesson, you'll learn what each one of them is and how they are different.

What is Biochemistry?

The definition of biochemistry is kind of simple. You can spot the prefix of 'bio-', which stands for life. And the suffix of '-chemistry' obviously refers to chemistry, which is the science of elements, compounds, molecular structures, and their interactions.

Thus, biochemistry is the chemistry of living organisms and their life processes.

What is Pharmacology?

Pharmacology is a word that comes to us from the prefix of 'pharmaco-', which comes to us from the Greek pharmakon, which implies a drug or medicine. The suffix of '-ology' refers to the science or study of something. In sum, pharmacology is, in simple terms, the science and study of drugs and medications. Of course, there's more to it than that. It's also the chemistry of drugs, their effects, their appearance, uses and so on.

Biochemistry vs. Pharmacology

So how are these two topics different or similar? On the one hand, pharmacology can be purely chemical in nature if we're talking about simply developing a pharmaceutical compound, which is just a chemical and nothing more in most cases. Of course, in practice, chemical compounds in the pharmaceutical world are rarely developed without a living organism in mind.

So once we start applying that chemical in any way, shape, or form to a living organism and studying the relationships between the two, you better believe that biochemistry comes into play. After all, it's a chemical interacting with a living organism, which is exactly what biochemistry is about.

In sum, if you're going to go into the field of pharmacology, you better ace that biochemistry class!

On the flipside, it should be noted that biochemistry is a much broader topic than pharmacology in the sense that you can study a living organism's life processes without having to deal with drugs. In other words, biochemistry can refer to the day to day biochemical processes within an organism, not impacted by any drug or medication.

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