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Principles of clinical pharmacology and drug therapy 

Principles of clinical pharmacology and drug therapy
Chapter:
Principles of clinical pharmacology and drug therapy
Author(s):

Kevin O’Shaughnessy

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198746690.003.0012
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date: 26 February 2021

In its widest sense, a drug is any chemical entity that can perturb a biological system. For the purposes of drug therapy, the biological system is the human body and the perturbation is exploited to aid the diagnosis, treatment, or even cure of a disease process. When prescribing for the individual patient, guidelines, formularies, and other prescribing aids are not a substitute for an intelligent clinical approach. The prescriber needs to establish what the patient’s experience and expectations of drug therapy are, and the patient needs to know the likely consequences—both good and bad—of taking any drug that is prescribed. This dialogue is important, since it will often decide whether the patient actually takes the drug as prescribed. Patient compliance is a key variable in the prescribing process, and one over which the doctor often has least control.

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