Clinical pharmacology includes pharmacokinetics (what the body does to a drug as it moves through the body) and pharmacodynamics (what a drug does to the body as the drug is being absorbed, metabolized, and excreted). An adverse drug reaction is a broad term that is generally used to refer to unwanted effects of a drug.
Clinical Pharmacology Sections (A-Z)
Adverse Drug Reactions
Concepts in Pharmacotherapy
Drugs are selected based on characteristics of the drug (eg, efficacy, safety profile, route of administration, route of elimination, dosing frequency, cost) and of the patient (eg, age, sex, other medical problems, likelihood of pregnancy, ethnicity, other genetic determinants). Risks and benefits of the drug are also assessed; every drug poses some risk.
Factors Affecting Response to Drugs
Response to a drug depends partly on the patient’s characteristics and behaviors (eg, consumption of foods or supplements; adherence to a dosing regimen; differences in metabolism due to age, sex, race, genetic polymorphisms, or hepatic or renal insufficiency), coexistence of other disorders, and use of other drugs. Drug errors (see Drug Errors), including prescribing an inappropriate drug, misreading a prescription, or administering a drug incorrectly, also can affect response.
Pharmacodynamics, sometimes described as what a drug does to the body, involves receptor binding (including receptor sensitivity), postreceptor effects, and chemical interactions. Pharmacodynamics, with pharmacokinetics (what the body does to a drug—see page Pharmacokinetics), helps explain the relationship between the dose and response, ie, the drug's effects. The pharmacologic response depends on the drug binding to its target. The concentration of the drug at the receptor site influences the drug’s effect.