The coursework for this module will help to develop your skills in finding and critically analysing information that you find in the literature or using on-line
resources, this will provide a sound basis for the independent research that you will do as part of your final year project. The second piece of coursework for this
module requires you to find and analyse the information relating to the clinical use of your given drug (this is the same drug that you used for coursework 1).
You should write an essay entitled:
“Should [Alendronate (Fosamax)] be prescribed in preference to other available drugs for the treatment of [osteoporosis]?”
To conduct this review students are expected to use high quality resources for their research. Assessing quality of resources is covered as part of the report on “E-
resources – use and assessment” and students should refer to the information gained through the related workshops when ascertaining which resources to use for this
exercise. Each student will be allocated an individual drug which they investigate for both coursework exercises. Some drugs may be well-established treatments whereas
others may be new to the market. Students are expected to research the use and properties of their given drug and make an assessment of how useful the drug is in
comparison to other drugs available for treating the same condition. Where a drug is used to treat more than one condition, the student may select any one of the known
The literature review essay is divided into five sections with marks allocated as follows
1. [30%] Discuss the clinical use and mode of action of the drug and provide a comparison to alternative drugs used for the same therapeutic indication*. Students
should find information on the therapeutic application of their drug and how it works to treat the condition. The mode of action and efficacy of the drug should be
compared to other drugs used to treat the same condition.
2. [30%] Discuss the side-effect profile of the drug and provide a comparison with the side effect profile of other drugs used to treat the same condition*. In
particular note if there are specific contra-indications for use of the drug (e.g. for the elderly, for children or those with impaired renal or hepatic function etc).
3. [10%] Discuss pertinent formulation issues for the drug. For example, is it known to be stable or unstable, does it have specific storage requirements? Are
there different formulations available? Is the drug usually prescribed in a simple and convenient dosage form for the patient?
4. [20%] Use the information obtained for sections 1 – 4 above to provide a reasoned argument as to whether [your drug] should be given in preference to other
drugs on the market for treating the same condition*. This should summarise the key points from the previous sections and be written in good scientific English.
5. [10%] Marks will be awarded for ensuring good quality reference sources have been used to obtain the information for this essay and for recording all
references correctly (i.e. according to the guidelines given in the E-resources use and assessment workshop. You should use the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology
format for citing references)
*If information on other drugs for treating the same condition is not available, the essay should discuss these points in general terms e.g. what is the societal need
for such a drug? Does the drug have a good or poor side-effect profile in general terms? Please ask for help if you are unsure.
The word limit for the essay is 1500 words (excluding references). You must state the word count (excluding references). 20 marks will be deducted for essays that
exceed the word limit.
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