I enjoy having a cup of coffee for breakfast, along with medium-boiled eggs and a toasted English muffin. Accompanying this nourishing repast is a colorful handful of pills that I take each morning.
I’ve always been fascinated by pharmacology, especially psychopharmacology. Long before I was ever personally prescribed any medications, I found myself thinking about how these colorful, assorted capsules actually work.
I wondered how they knew where to go in our bodies in order to exert their various impacts. I still find myself thinking these same thoughts! I’m amazed by the complexity inherent in needing to take so many medications, on a daily basis.
I recall when my daughter had, at one time, been prescribed four different types of insulin to manage her diabetes. Each type of insulin had a unique pattern for its onset of action, peak intensity, and duration.
Of course, each individual prescription medication has a unique side effect profile. Interaction effects occur between medications. The absorption of one particular medication is affected by another, eliminating the possibility of taking them both at the same time.
Physicians use a reference manual, the Physicians’ Desk Reference (PDR), for assistance with prescribing medications. The PDR prescribes a standardized dose for each of the medications that it lists.
What it fails to list, however, is how to personally adjust an individual patient’s dose, according to critically important factors that affect the absorption, metabolism, and elimination of prescription medications.
A patient’s age, gender, ethnicity, and body weight are important variables that influence the pharmacology of medications.