Identifying Potential Drug Interactions

Drugs can interact at any stage from when they are mixed with other drugs in a pharmaceutical formulation or by a clinician, e.g. in an i.v. infusion or syringe, to their final excretion either unchanged or as metabolites. When a drug is added to an existing regimen, a doctor can evaluate the possibility of an interaction by logically thinking through the usual sequence of processes to which a drug is subject and which are outlined earlier in this chapter, i.e. interactions may occur:

• outside the body

• at the site of absorption

• during distribution

• on receptors or body systems (pharmacodynamic interactions)

• during metabolism

• during excretion.

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