Factors affecting serum drug concentrations

The serum concentration of a particular drug is determined by absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion of a drug. Major characteristics that affect serum drug concentrations include genetic make up of a patient as well as age, gender, weight, habits (such as smoking), and diet. Elderly and newborns may metabolize a particular drug more slowly than others. Some drugs, for example theophylline, distributes to lean weight only where other drugs, such as phenytoin, distributes to total weight. Diseases may alter serum drug concentrations dramatically. Hepatic disease may alter metabolism of a drug where a patient with renal failure may clear a drug in urine more slowly than a patient with normal renal function. Pregnancy alters metabolism of several drugs while drug-drug interactions may also significantly alter serum drug concentrations.

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