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Chapter: Clinical Pharmacology: Fundamentals of clinical pharmacology


Pharmacotherapeutics is the use of drugs to treat disease.


Pharmacotherapeutics is the use of drugs to treat disease. When choosing a drug to treat a particular condition, health care providers consider not only the drug’s effectiveness but also other factors such as the type of therapy the patient will receive.


Not all therapy is the same


The type of therapy a patient receives depends on the severity, ur-gency, and prognosis of the patient’s condition and can include:


·                 acute therapy, if the patient is critically ill and requires acute in-tensive therapy


·                 empiric therapy, based on practical experience rather than onpure scientific data


·                 maintenance therapy, for patients with chronic conditions thatdon’t resolve

·                 supplemental or replacement therapy, to replenish or substi-tute for missing substances in the body


·                 supportive therapy, which doesn’t treat the cause of the diseasebut maintains other threatened body systems until the patient’s condition resolves


·                 palliative therapy, used for end-stage or terminal diseases tomake the patient as comfortable as possible.


I can only be myself


A patient’s overall health as well as other individual factors can al-ter that patient’s response to a drug. Coinciding medical condi-tions and personal lifestyle characteristics must be considered when selecting drug therapy. (See Factors affecting a patient’s re-sponse to a drug.)


Decreased response…


In addition, it’s important to remember that certain drugs have a tendency to create drug tolerance and drug dependence in pa-tients. Drug tolerance occurs when a patient develops a decreased response to a drug over time. The patient then requires larger dos-es to produce the same response.


…and increased desire


Tolerance differs from drug dependence, in which a patient dis-plays a physical or psychological need for the drug. Physical de-pendence produces withdrawal symptoms when the drug is stopped, whereas psychological dependence is based on a desire to continue taking the drug to relieve tension and avoid discom-fort.


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Clinical Pharmacology: Fundamentals of clinical pharmacology : Pharmacotherapeutics |

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