High-paying jobs in the field of Clinical Pharmacokinetics
The main objective of Clinical Pharmacokinetics is to enhance efficacy and reduce the toxicity of a patient’s drug therapy
Clinical Pharmacokinetics deals with the process of absorption, distribution, metabolism, and elimination of drugs in patients requiring drug therapy. A lucid understanding of pharmacokinetics helps prescribers choose doses and dose intervals without any confusion. As a result, the target tissues are exposed to appropriate drug concentrations for a sufficient length of time.
Why study Clinical Pharmacokinetics?
Clinical Pharmacokinetics is a much sought-after course among medical students keen on conducting both basic and applied research. This branch of medicine is an important component of the drug development process. It is a valuable addition for prescribing and evaluating drug therapy.
The primary goals of clinical pharmacokinetics include enhancing efficacy and reducing the toxicity of a patient’s drug therapy. It deals with how the body processes drugs. Since the job of physicians is to prescribe drugs, knowledge of pharmacokinetics is essential for medical students. Those specialising in this course study the concentrations of drugs in plasma, serum, or blood.
In pharmacokinetics, excretion is considered the most important process as elimination involves both the metabolism and the excretion of the drug through the kidneys, and to a much smaller degree, into the bile. Excretion into the urine through the kidneys is one of the most crucial mechanisms of drug removal.
Why is drug-concentration monitoring considered important?
Interpreting drug-concentration measurements requires additional clinical information. Drug-concentration monitoring is most helpful for drugs that have a low therapeutic index (TI) and that have no clinically observable effects to facilitate dose adjustment. Small TI requires that the drug is dosed carefully and the person receiving the drug is monitored closely for any signs of drug toxicity.
Clinical Pharmacokinetics is driven by five fundamental principles: absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion, and binding of drugs. These principles are then used as a convenient benchmark to monitor, evaluate, and adjust dosage for patients.
This branch of medicine also involves the study of the dynamic movement of foreign chemicals (xenobiotics) during the passage to the body and the kinetics of absorption, distribution, bio transformation/metabolism and excretion (ADME).
One needs to have a background in Life Sciences like Microbiology, Biochemistry, and Pharmacology to pursue this course. Since this branch of medicine deals with drugs, treating kidney disease requires sufficient knowledge of the drug being applied. Also, there is a need to be aware of the extent of the patient’s altered physiology, and pharmacokinetic principles that influence the design of closing regimens.
Given the multiple physiological effects of impaired kidney function, it becomes challenging to decide upon the dosing aspect. Even though, some guidelines are available for dosing in kidney disease, they may be based on limited data. Therefore, a deep understanding of pharmacokinetic principles and how to apply them is important to a practising clinician.
Adequate knowledge of pharmacokinetic principles enables prescribers to adjust dosage more accurately. The principles of clinical pharmacokinetics form the basis of optimal dose regimen and explanation of inter-individual variation in response to drug therapy.
The most important pharmacokinetic parameter in a clinical situation is the half-life. Half-life is the time taken for the amount of a drug active substance in the human body to reduce by half. It can vary from a few hours to a few weeks.
Clinical pharmacokinetics is a lucrative profession. There are several high-paying career opportunities available to students who pursue this course. Clinical Pharmacokinetics graduates can work as scientists, researchers, biotransformation scientists, drug discovery scientists, pharmacists, clinical trial associates, biostatisticians, pharmacologists, chemists, and lab assistants.
UPES offers a program in M.Sc. in Clinical Research with a specialisation in Clinical Pharmacokinetics. To know more, click here: https://www.upes.ac.in/course/m-sc-clinical-research