Understanding the pharmacology of the side effects of medicines for effective prevention of adverse drug reactions
Evidence and practice    

Understanding the pharmacology of the side effects of medicines for effective prevention of adverse drug reactions

Jodie Coulson Lecturer in prescribing and medicines optimisation, Department of Health Sciences, University of York, York, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To enhance your understanding of the pharmacology of the side effects of medicines

  • To identify which medicines and patient groups have an increased risk of adverse drug reactions

  • To recognise how you could apply your knowledge of pharmacology to prevent adverse effects and maintain patient safety

Most common adverse drug reactions (ADRs) are linked to pharmacology. No medicine has a single physiological effect, and many cause unwanted side effects in addition to their intended action, even when administered at the recommended dose. The higher the number of medicines people take, the higher their risk of ADRs. This article explores the role of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics in ADRs and discusses how understanding the way in which the body processes medicines, and the factors that affect these mechanisms, can assist nurses in anticipating and avoiding ADRs. The article also explains how understanding the mode of action before administering medicines to patients can predict and prevent harmful interactions, exaggerated or unwanted side effects and responses at unintended sites.

Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2021.e11820

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

Correspondence

jodie.coulson@york.ac.uk

Conflict of interest

None declared

Coulson J (2021) Understanding the pharmacology of the side effects of medicines for effective prevention of adverse drug reactions. Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2021.e11820

Published online: 16 December 2021

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