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Clinical Psychopharmacology

Psychology 488 
Spring 2013 Term 
Department of Psychology 
State University of New York at Buffalo

Michael A. Bozarth, Ph.D. 
B-77 Park Hall, North Campus 
Office Hours: Wednesday TBA 
plus most T/R 3:30 4:30 pm.
Telephone: 645-0267 

Online Course Material








Dose-Response Analysis (efficacy vs. potency)

Classification of Agonists & Antagonists

Tolerance & Sensitization

Additive Effects, Synergism & Potentiation

Drug Classification

Clinical Psychopharmacology

Course Description

This course surveys basic neuropharmacology, the effects of various psychotropic drugs, and the actions of drugs used to treat mental disorders. The emphasis of the first part of the course is on basic principles of neuropharmacology, distribution and elimination of drugs, drug-receptor interactions and dose-response relationships, structure of neurons, neurophysiological mechanisms involved in synaptic activity, and the distribution of specific neurotransmitter systems. The last two-thirds of the course examine the actions of specific drugs and their effects on behavior and their uses in biological psychiatry. This course is designed to provide a foundation for advanced study in behavioral neuroscience, neuropsychopharmacology, physiological psychology, and related areas and to provide an introduction to the pharmacological treatment of mental disorders for clinical students. The course also provides part of the requisite training for prescribing privileges currently awarded clinical psychologists in some states.


Introductory Psychology, Research Methods or equivalent, Biopsychology or Behavioral Neuroscience; or by permission of instructor. A background in biological sciences is strongly recommended. Highly motivated students lacking the formal course prerequisites should contact the instructor prior to enrollment.

Instructional Format

This is a lecture course with student presentations and limited group discussions. Reading assignments from the textbook and from supplementary readings are an important part of this course. Video recordings and laboratory demonstrations may be used to enhance the presentation of some material. Some material will be available only on the Internet and students are required to have an active computer account. An Internet-based discussion group will also be used to address questions regarding the reading assignments and the lecture material.

Required Reading

A Primer on Drug Action, Twelfth Edition (Julien, Advokat, & Comaty, 2011) is the required text for this course. Supplementary readings will also be assigned when appropriate. Students should be prepared for a heavy reading load throughout the semester.

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Course Grade

Grades are determined by performance on three equally weighted examinations (25% each), unannounced 'pop' quizzes (15%), and class presentation material (10%). The three term exams will be scheduled during regular class periods and should require about an hour to complete. The 'pop' quizzes (approximately 10 total) will be given during the beginning of some classes throughout the term and should require 15 to 20 minutes to complete; the lowest two quiz grades will be dropped from the grade calculations (this includes any missed quizzes). The test format may vary using any combination of multiple choice, short answer, and essay questions. Quizzes cannot be made up, and makeup exams are allowed only with permission of the instructor prior to the scheduled test date. Extraordinary circumstances, along with the appropriate documentation, should be brought to the attention of the instructor for special consideration.  

Grade Components

Term Exams 
Pop Quizzes 

25% each (three exams)

Copyright Notice

The material contained on this web site and the material presented in class are protected by Federal copyright laws. Students are expressly prohibited from compilation and distribution of class material except for their own private use.

Tentative Course Outline
Subtopics in the first module (approximately one-third) of the course will each require variable presentation times based on the students' preparedness and how well the material in the first portion was learned in Biopsychology (PSY351). The second half of the first module will begin about three week into the semester. The other topics outlined in the syllabus should begin on their designated starting dates.

Brief Overview of Fundamental Disciplines

Cell biology
physiology & cell metabolism

cell potentials
electrophysiological techniques

synaptic transmission
signal transduction
central nervous system (CNS)
peripheral nervous system (PNS)
endocrine system

Basic Principles of Pharmacology



drug absorption & distribution
drug elimination


receptor binding
signal transduction

Clinical Psychopharmacology Topics

Continued below . . .

Basic Principles

Unit Study Guide


26 February

Exam #1

Exam Scores


Clinical Psychopharmacology



Reading Assignment

Online Material

28 February

Review & Presentation Guide plus 
Group Meeting Day

Presentation Guide

05 March

Drugs Used to Treat Parkinson's Disease and Other Neurological Disorders

student outline

07 March

Ethyl Alcohol & Abused Inhalants

Chapter 13

student outline

12 - 14 March

Spring Break

19 March

Antipsychotic Drugs

Chapter 4

student outline

21 March

Antidepressant Drugs

Chapter 5

Special Notes for Exam #2

26 March

Module Overview



28 March

Exam #2

Exam Scores

02 April

Review & Group Work

04 April

Drugs Used to Treat Bipolar Disorder

Chapter 6

student outline

09 April

Sedative Hypnotic & Anxiolytic Medications

Chapter 7

student outline

11 April

Opioids & Other Analgesics

 Chapters 9 & 10

 student outline

16 April

Psychomotor and Other Stimulants

 Chapters 11 & 12

student outline

18 April

Clinical Psychopharmacology: 
Issues and Answers plus

Module Overview

Special Notes for Exam #3 

23 April

Exam #3


 Exam Scores

25 April

Review/Course Overview

Graduate School plus Careers in Psychopharmacology & Behavioral Neuroscience

 Course Grades

Last revised: 29 January 2013