MSD Manual

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Introduction to Concepts in Pharmacotherapy

By

Shalini S. Lynch

, PharmD, University of California San Francisco School of Pharmacy

Last full review/revision Jun 2019| Content last modified Jun 2019
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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.

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 [see Pharmacokinetics in Older Adults], sex, race, genetic polymorphisms, or hepatic or renal insufficiency), coexistence of other disorders, and use of other drugs.

Drug errors (eg, prescribing an inappropriate drug, misreading a prescription, administering a drug incorrectly) can also affect response.

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