Learn all about physical pharmacy

A standard text on physical pharmacy for students around the world.

‘Physicochemical principles of pharmacy in manufacture, formulation and clinical use 6th edition’, by Alexander T Florence and David Attwood

‘Physicochemical principles of pharmacy’ (physical pharmacy or pharmaceutics) comprises the study of drug formulations and their design, manufacture, and delivery to the body. The definition now extends to the targeting of drugs and delivery systems to specific sites in the body, the fabrication of nanoparticles and the design of delivery devices.

The early chapters of this book – published by Pharmaceutical Press, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society – examine the properties of drugs and excipients in the solid state and in solution. Specific classes of materials and systems, such as surfactants, emulsions, suspensions, colloids, polymers and macromolecules, feature in subsequent chapters. The oral and parenteral routes of administration are discussed and the authors remind readers, in a chapter on interactions and incompatibilities, that although many interactions are pharmacological in nature, some have a basis in physical chemistry such as those arising from electrostatic interactions between oppositely charged drugs or from complexation between drugs and ions or drugs and polymers.

The sixth edition features new chapters or sections on paediatric and geriatric formulations, adverse events, generic medicines and biosimilars, and solid dose form manufacture. Although the book is not a monograph on the latest advances, nevertheless, the most disappointing feature is that only two pages are devoted to biological agents and in particular, biosimilars. This is a major growth area and pharmacists need to be aware of the differences and the processes for determining “similarity” between originator drug and the biosimilars that are marketed once the patent expires.

All chapters are well illustrated and tables are clearly set out. Key points and clinical points are highlighted and readers are able to work through calculations and refer to the answers which can be found close by.

Since the first edition of the book was published 35 years ago, it has become a standard text for undergraduate and postgraduate pharmacy students in many parts of the world and by students of pharmaceutical sciences and other related disciplines. It fulfils an important requirement of describing the principles of physical pharmacy by using pharmaceutical examples to illustrate the topics.




‘Physicochemical principles of pharmacy in manufacture, formulation and clinical use 6th edition’, by Alexander T Florence and David Attwood. Pp xi + 647. Price £45. London: Pharmaceutical Press; 2015. ISBN 978 0 85711 174 6

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, January 2016;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2016.20200359