Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics

Pharmacokinetics refers to the actions of the body on drugs (e.g., distribution, metabolism, reabsorption, elimination of a drug). Pharmacodynamics refers to the actions of drugs on the body (e.g., binding to a particular receptor, stimulation of a chemical or electrical response, stimulation of a physiologic or organ response, stimulation of a behavioral or psychological response). Both of these principles are important when studying psychopharmacologic agents. They are relevant to the characterization of the relationship between drugs and the body. In addition, particular situations or stimuli (e.g., stressors, other drugs, history of exposure to the drug of interest, individual difference variables) can alter pharmacokinetics or phar-macodynamics or both types of processes. Identification of the contribution of these mechanisms of action are relevant to the prescription of appropriate drugs and dosages and to elucidate the mechanisms underlying a given drug or condition.

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