Evidence-Based Acupuncture

General Information
Duration 1 semester (14 teaching weeks)
Level Year 4, Semester 7
Unit Weighting Unit Credit Points: 10 credit points
Total Course Credit Points: 320 credit points
Student Workload Number of timetabled hours per week: 4
Number of personal study hours per week: 6
Total workload hours per week: 10
Prerequisites HMS205 Pathophysiology & Microbiology; CHM208 Chinese Herbal Medicine and Formulae 3
Academic Details
Description This unit introduces students to pharmacology and address its application in Western and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Students firstly study Western pharmacological systems and its mechanisms. This will include the selective therapeutic and prophylactic effects of Western medicines according to the principles of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics; the biomedical rationale for the use of specific drugs in commonly encountered conditions; interactions between drugs and adverse reactions. In addition, students will be introduced to the principles of the safe use of drugs, the prevention and management of drug-related disorders, and the skills required to access information on drugs. Students are also provided with an overview of toxicology including the procedures for evaluating toxicity, the types of toxic effects, and the action mechanisms of antidotes, drug-related disorders, and how to report adverse events of western medicines, medical devices, as well as vaccines to Australia’s regulatory authority for therapeutic goods (The Therapeutic Goods Administration, TGA).

Students will also be introduced to the chemistry and pharmacology of Chinese herbal medicine. The unit will present information on how plants produce chemicals, the chemical composition and active constituents of specific Chinese herbal medicines, and the availability of these constituents in herbal preparations. The mechanisms by which medicinal plants act on the human body will be examined, including the metabolic pathways of active constituents, their sites of action, and potential for interaction and toxicity. Issues relating to the scheduling of herbal medicines, adverse reactions to herbal medicines, and interactions between Western pharmaceuticals and Chinese medicinal substances will also be examined.

Learning outcomes Upon completion of this unit students should be able to:

  1. Define the nomenclature, classifications, formulations and methods of administration of Western Pharmaceuticals and describe the principles of pharmacology and toxicology; Describe the dose-response-relationship and factors that affect this relationship in Western Pharmacology; types of drug interactions; therapeutic applications; and pharmacological actions and contraindications; Evaluate the positive and negative effects of commonly prescribed drugs for common diseases.
  2. Describe, assess, and report adverse events to western medicine & Chinese medicinal substances, medical devices, and vaccines; the management of drugs (incl. WM & CHM)-related emergencies and disorders; the use of reference materials and information services to obtain information on drugs (incl. WM & CHM); margin of safety concepts; predictable and unpredictable drug (incl. WM & CHM) reactions; drug (incl. WM & CHM) teratogenicity and carcinogenicity; and how to prevent and manage adverse and toxic reactions to drugs (incl. WM & CHM); and the use of traditional antidotes for adverse reactions to herbs in the Chinese pharmacopoeia.
  3. Describe the production and function of phytochemicals and the action of active constituents found in Chinese herbal medicines (CHM) on the human body; Discuss and evaluate the inclusion of Chinese medicinal substances in the Standard for Uniform Scheduling of Drugs and Poisons (SUSDP); Explore the mechanisms by which phytochemicals interact with pharmaceuticals and identify known interactions between Chinese medicinal substances and commonly used pharmaceuticals.
Unit requirement To successfully complete the unit, students must: attend 80% of all the lectures and tutorial classes; attempt all assessment tasks and achieve at least 50% of the total marks.
Assessment Assessment 1: Long Answer Questions of WM Pharmacology (30%)

Assessment 2: Research Report (TCM Pharmacology) (30%)

Assessment 3: Group Presentation (40%)

Prescribed text * The prescribed and recommended readings are subject to annual review.


Brenner, G.M. (2017). Pharmacology (5th ed.). London: Elsevier Health Sciences.


Chen, J. K., Chen, T. T., &Crampton, L. (2004). Chinese medical Herbology and pharmacology. City of Industry, Calif.: Art of Medicine Press.

Recommended readings WM:

Whalen, K. (2018). Lippincott Illustrated Reviews: Pharmacology (7th ed.). Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). (2019). Reporting adverse events  Retrieved 14/01/2019, from https://www.tga.gov.au/reporting-adverse-events

World Health Organization (WHO). (2019). Pharmacovigilance  Retrieved 14/01/2019, from http://www.who.int/medicines/areas/quality_safety/safety_efficacy/pharmvigi/en/



Boarder, M. R., Navti, P., & Newby, D. (2010). Pharmacology for pharmacy and the health sciences: A patient-centred approach. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Howland, R. D., &Mycek, M. J. (2006). In Harvey R. A., Champe P. C. (Eds.), Pharmacology (3rd ed.). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Neal, M. J. (2009). Medical pharmacology at a glance (6th ed.). Chichester, UK; Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.

Ou, M. (1989). Chinese-english manual of common-used in traditional Chinese medicine [Han yingch’angyung Chung yaoshouts’e ]. Joint Publishing(H.K.) Co., Hong Kong and Guangzhou, China: Guangong Science and Technology Press.

Ou, M. (1998). Chinese-english manual of common-used prescriptions in traditional Chinese medicine [Han yingch’angyung Chung ich’u fang shouts’e ]. Guangzhou, China: Guangong Science and Technology Press.

Rosenfeld, G. C., & Loose, D. S. (2010). Pharmacology (5th ed.). Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Springhouse Corporation. (2009). Clinical pharmacology made incredibly easy! (3rd ed.). Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.