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Understanding The Basics ofPharmacokinetics

Updated on August 8, 2012

Pharmacokinetics 101

For the outsider the idea of pharmacokinetics can be somewhat hard to grasp. When you hear that a company deals with ADME, DMPK, drug metabolism and protein expression, it may sound like a lot of gibberish if you’re not well-versed in a scientific field. It’s something that the average person never thinks about in the course of a day – or even in the course of a lifetime. But some people are anxious to learn more about pharmacokinetics, whether it’s out of pure curiosity, because someone they know is involved or because of the implications for the future of science. For those individuals, the following are the basics behind some of the key ideas and terms used in this field.

What is pharmacokinetics?

It’s best to start out by first understanding what pharmacokinetics is. This branch of pharmacology is focused on how an organism reacts to certain pharmaceutical compounds, whether it’s a drug, hormones, toxins or nutrients. One of the key things studied in pharmacokinetics is how the body absorbs and distributes a drug.


The term ADME refers to the acronym for absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion. It refers to how a pharmaceutical compound reacts within an organism. Basically, these are four of the areas that must be studied very closely to determine how a drug works and at what levels it should be given in order to be most effective.


This is another acronym, this one referring to drug metabolism pharmacokinetics. It is important in pharmacokinetics because of the fact that it involves the way the body affects and modifies a pharmaceutical compound. Drug metabolism can lead to toxication or detoxication depending on how the chemical reacts in the body of an organism.

Protein Expression

Protein expression is the process by which proteins are created in response to DNA. This practice is important in pharmacokinetics because it can lead to the develop of important drugs and treatments, such as the use of insulin for diabetics.


If you’re involved in pharmaceutical testing or are just curious about the field of pharmacokinetics, understanding these keys ideas and terms will help you to decipher the scientific jargon associated with this industry.


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