Category Archives: Definitions

What means sensitivity in pharmacology? Definition

The following pharmacological definition has been taken from the Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics Department Glossary at Boston University School of Medicine.

Sensitivity:

The ability of a population, an individual or a tissue, relative to the abilities of others, to respond in a qualitatively normal fashion to a particular drug dose. The smaller the dose required to produce an effect, the more sensitive is the responding system. A patient would be considered abnormally sensitive to aspirin if a small fraction of the normal analgesic dose gave adequate pain relief; or, were an abnormally large dose of aspirin required to afford pain relief, the subject would be said to be “insensitive” to aspirin. Conversely, the drug would appear to be extraordinarily potent or impotent in such a patient. If a patient manifested an allergic response after raking aspirin, he would be considered hypersensitive to aspirin, regardless of whether the aspirin afforded him relief from pain, and regardless of the size of the dose required to elicit the allergic response. Such a patient might be simultaneously hypersensitive to aspirin, and insensitive to aspirin, acting as an analgesic agent.

Every subject is sensitive to a drug; the question of importance is “how sensitive?” In any event sensitivity is a property ascribed to the organism; potency is a property ascribed to the drug. Hypersensitivity is a property ascribed to a subject in a particular immunologic state.

Sensitivity may be measured or described quantitatively in terms of the point of intersection of a dose-effect curve with the axis of abscissal values or a line parallel to it; such a point corresponds to the dose just required to produce a given degree of effect (see Threshold”). In analogy to this, the “sensitivity” of a measuring system is defined as the lowest input (smallest dose) required to produce a given degree of output (effect).

The copyright of the text is hold by Trustees of Boston University. Permission has been granted for its use in this blog.

Definition: latent period or latency after drug administration

The following pharmacological definition has been taken from the Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics Department Glossary at Boston University School of Medicine. Latent Period or Latency: The period of time that must elapse between the time at which a dose of drug is applied to a biologic system and the time at which a specified pharmacologic…

Infusion kinetics definition

The following pharmacology definition has been taken from the Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics Department Glossary at Boston University School of Medicine. Infusion Kinetics: Infusion, as a means of drug administration, involves an effectively continuous flow of a drug solution into the blood stream over a relatively long period of time. (Intravascular injections are separate administrations…Continue Reading

Elimination rate constant (kel) definition

The following pharmacology definition has been taken from the Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics Department Glossary at Boston University School of Medicine. kel: The “elimination rate constant” for a drug eliminated according to the laws of first-order reaction kinetics; the slope of the plot of the logarithm of concentration against time, when natural logarithms, i.e. logarithms…

Equivalence definition in pharmacology: three kinds of equivalence

The following pharmacology definition has been taken from the Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics Department Glossary at Boston University School of Medicine. Equivalence: In 1969, a federal Task Force on Prescription Drugs recommended that the words “generic equivalents” no longer be used in describing and comparing drug preparations. The Task Force recommended that an appropriate nomenclature…Continue Reading

Potency of a drug. Equipotent drug definition

The following pharmacology definition has been taken from the Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics Department Glossary at Boston University School of Medicine. Equipotent: Equally potent, or equally capable of producing a pharmacologic effect of a specified intensity. The masses of the drugs required to produce this degree of effect may be compared, quantitatively, toContinue Reading

Dose response curve definition in plain english.

An explanation in plain english of the dose-response curves, by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences: One of the most important principles of pharmacology, and of much of research in general, is a concept called “dose-response.” Just as the term implies, this notion refers to the relationship between some effect—let’s say, lowering of blood…Continue Reading

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