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Pharmacology can be defined as the study of substances thatinteract with living systems through chemical processes, especially by binding to regulatory molecules and activating or inhibiting normal body processes. These substances may be chemicals administered to achieve a beneficial therapeutic effect on some process within the patient or for their toxic effects on regulatory processes in parasites infecting the patient. Such deliberate thera-peutic applications may be considered the proper role of medicalpharmacology, which is often defined as the science of substancesused to prevent, diagnose, and treat disease. Toxicology is the branch of pharmacology that deals with the undesirable effects of chemicals on living systems, from individual cells to humans to complex ecosystems (Figure 1–1).
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