Clinical Relevance of Pharmacokinetics

Gianni Tognoni, C. Bellantuono, M. Bonati, M. D’Incalci, M. Gerna, R. Latini, M. Mandelli, M. G. Porro, E. Riva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The importance of a more therapeutically oriented perspective for pharmacokinetics has been repeatedly advocated and stressed during the past few years. Review of recent publications in this field reveals that the search for solutions to clinically relevant problems is merely a secondary goal in many studies. Hence, to obtain reliable information which can be applied safely in therapeutic practice, studies need to be interpreted critically. After careful analysis of publications on some of the most representative drugs and drug groups (anti-infective agents, antiepileptic drugs, psychotherapeutic drugs, antiarrhythmic agents, digoxin, propranolol, theophylline, warfarin, anticancer agents), tentative guidelines are given for data for which the clinical relevance is well established, for findings for which the relevance should be checked in routine practice, for areas where much research is still needed before kinetic knowledge can result in improved therapeutic outcome, and for fields where only minor therapeutic advances can be expected from extended kinetic investigations. Within the general framework of clinical pharmacology, it appears that the use of pharmacokinetics is a fundamental research tool and a useful aid to therapeutic practice only if its limitations are clearly recognised, and if priority is given to creating favourable, controlled conditions for good diagnostic practice, general patient care and compliance of the patient with treatment. A restricted attitude is suggested toward the natural expansion of blood level monitoring, because of the risk that doctors and institutions become ‘dependent’ on this technique and lose their critical capacity in the use of both clinical and kinetic data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-136
Number of pages32
JournalClinical Pharmacokinetics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1980

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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