The metabolism of drugs is the biochemical process that occurs in the body to break down, modify, and eliminate drugs. These processes can significantly impact the pharmacokinetics of drugs, including their onset of action, duration of effect, and toxicity.
There are two main phases of drug metabolism:
- Phase 1 metabolism, also known as oxidative metabolism, involves the oxidation, reduction, and hydrolysis of drugs, which can result in the formation of active or inactive metabolites.
- Phase 2 metabolism, also known as conjugation metabolism, involves the addition of functional groups to drugs, such as glucuronidation, sulfation, acetylation, and methylation, to increase their water solubility and enhance their elimination from the body.
The speed and efficiency of drug metabolism can vary among individuals due to genetic and environmental factors, including differences in the activity of metabolic enzymes, drug interactions, and the presence of disease states. Understanding the metabolism of drugs is important for predicting their therapeutic effects, adverse reactions, and interactions with other drugs and optimizing dosing regimens to achieve optimal therapeutic outcomes.