Pharmaceutical expert specializes in methodologies that assess adverse drug effects
In addition to giving a therapeutic benefit, drugs may cause secondary effects. Such effects can be detrimental.
For example, morphine used for pain control can lead to two undesirable secondary effects: constipation and decreased breathing. In other cases, the adverse effect can be beneficial.
Diphenhydramine produces sedation as an adverse effect and is the main ingredient in many over-the-counter sleep aids.
The variance in the genetic code of the American population can cause an individual to be hypersensitive to the pharmacologic mechanism of a drug.
A person may exhibit an exaggerated therapeutic response or adverse even from a drug, even when the drug is given at a typical dose.
Hypersensitivity may be due to an altered pharmacokinetic response which leads to higher-than-usual concentration levels in the blood. Genetic variances may also lead to increased receptor sensitivity, increasing an individual’s response to therapeutic or adverse effects.
The incidence of adverse effects vary by patient characteristics (including: age, sex, ethnicity, coexisting disorders, genetic or geographic factors) and by drug factors including: type of drug, administration route, treatment duration, dosage, bioavailability). Most adverse effects are dose-related but can also be allergic or idiosyncratic.
Allergic adverse effects are not related to the drug’s dose and require prior exposure to the drug. Allergic reactions develop when a drug acts as an antigen or allergen.
After a patient is sensitized, subsequent exposure to the drug produces one of several different types of allergic reaction. Drug history and screening with skin tests can sometimes help predict allergic adverse effects.
Idiosyncrasy is used to describe adverse effects that are not dose-related or allergic. They occur in a small percentage of patients given a drug.
Idiosyncrasy has been defined as a genetically determined abnormal response to a drug, but not all idiosyncratic reactions have a genetic cause. The exact mechanism of an idiosyncratic adverse is not unknown.