The Role of Thermodynamics in Pharmacy

A report into how essential thermodynamics is to pharmaceutical scientists.

This paper examines how fundamental the principles of thermodynamics are to pharmacy. The paper covers the topics of Gibbs free energy change, heat of formation, partial molar free energy, energy change and entropy, and discusses how all these are important in pharmaceutics in deciding drug delivery and dosage form. The paper presents the reader with a clearer insight into how important the above are, with extensive explanations into the three laws of thermodynamics and how they all help the modern day pharmaceutical scientist. Many of the complicated calculations involved in thermodynamics are exemplified through examples.
“A pharmacist is regarded as a professional scientist. Thus he is expected to know more than ever, is a thorough knowledge of thermodynamics. This discipline forms a rudimentary backbone of most of the material sciences as many other disciplines do “borrow” heavily from this. 1,3 In studying thermodynamics, it attempts to integrate the factual knowledge of pharmacy and it aids the pharmaceutical scientist to predict the solubility, stability, feasibility, compatibility and biological action of drug products fairly accurately. Processes such as partitioning of solutes between immiscible solvents, the solubility of drugs, micellisation and drug-receptor interaction can all be treated in thermodynamic terms. 1Thermodynamics is concerned with the quantitative relationships between heat and other forms of energy, including mechanical, chemical, electric and radiant energy. 1The main feature to remember in the study of thermodynamics is that it is not possible to know the absolute value of the energy of a system but it is possible to record changes in energy that happen when a system undergoes transformation.”