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Understanding Pharmacokinetic Variability

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Toxicology Lawyer Explains Pharmacokinetic Variability

Every person has a unique biological system and so it follows naturally that there is variability among individuals’ response to drugs. This consideration, known as pharmacokinetic variability, has always been important in hospitals and within pharmacology, but it is also a necessary consideration during legal proceedings. If an individual is facing legal consequences due to an adverse reaction to a substance then a toxicology lawyer should be included in proceedings to ensure the scientific claims made by the court can be verified.

The act of investigating any physical evidence for traces of dangerous drugs or chemicals is also known as forensic toxicology. A forensic investigation of this nature can determine what chemicals were present in the body of the accused, if any, and what effect this may have had in the scenario presented before the court. An expert in forensic toxicology will, very importantly, take into account pharmacokinetic variability to ensure an individual’s biological system was not having an adverse reaction to any evident chemicals.

Pharmacokinetic variability considers five important factors: genetics, disease, age, body size, concomitant drugs, and environmental factors. All of the above can play a role in legal proceedings facing an individual accused of a crime involving substance intoxication.

Biological factors
The drug metabolism of every individual varies based on a number of hereditary and biological factors. A key consideration of pharmacokinetic variation is the genetic variability or the potential for enzymes with different catalytic activities to be present in the body of the individual in question. The person’s age is the next consideration: time can have a huge impact on a body’s ability to distribute and metabolize various chemicals. Older people generally have poorer renal function as well, which can impede the excretion process. It is not only older individuals who have varied reactions to chemicals but also the very young. The rate of administration of drugs to infants should be reduced due to their developing renal and hepatic function. The final biological factor taken into account in a forensic toxicology report is the existence of any concurrent diseases in the individual, including the one they may have been consuming chemicals to treat. Certain diseases can impact the circulation of the cardiovascular system and the healthy functioning of vital organs like the liver and kidneys.

Environmental factors
Pharmacokinetic variability is also affected by certain factors outside of the individual’s biological system. In a number of patients effective pharmacological treatment for an ailment is treated by a health practitioner with more than one drug at the same time. Drugs can interact with each other in dangerous ways and result in adverse health effects. For example, the chemical metoclopramide can increase the absorption rate of certain drugs, a common example being paracetamol, forcing them out of the body before they are able to take effect. Food may also effect an individual’s reaction to drugs. Grapefruit notoriously can interact with a range of chemicals with potentially fatal consequences. Compounds found in grapefruit juice can prevent the enzymes in the intestines from absorbing a drug and can cause it to build up dangerously in an individual’s bloodstream.

These variability factors are important to understand if you or someone you know is involved in legal proceedings revolving around substance toxicology. A toxicology lawyer will make sure to investigate pharmacokinetic variability. Contact Okorie Okorocha today for more information.

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