Pharmacokinetics (in Greek: “pharmacon” meaning drug and “kinetikos” meaning putting in motion, the study of time dependency; sometimes abbreviated as “PK”) is a branch of pharmacology dedicated to the determination of the fate of substances administered externally to a living organism. In practice, this discipline is applied mainly to drug substances, though in principle it concerns itself with all manner of compounds ingested or otherwise delivered externally to an organism, such as nutrients, metabolites, hormones, toxins, etc.
Pharmacokinetics is often studied in conjunction with pharmacodynamics. Pharmacodynamics explores what a drug does to the body, whereas pharmacokinetics explores what the body does to the drug. Pharmacokinetics includes the study of the mechanisms of absorption and distribution of an administered drug, the rate at which a drug action begins and the duration of the effect, the chemical changes of the substance in the body (e.g. by enzymes) and the effects and routes of excretion of the metabolites of the drug.
Pharmacokinetics is divided into several areas which includes the extent and rate of Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism and Excretion. This is commonly referred to as the ADME scheme. However recent understanding about the drug-body interactions brought about the inclusion of new term Liberation. Now Pharmacokinetics can be better described as LADME.
* Liberation is the process of release of drug from the formulation.
* Absorption is the process of a substance entering the body.
* Distribution is the dispersion or dissemination of substances throughout the fluids and tissues of the body.
* Metabolism is the irreversible transformation of parent compounds into daughter metabolites.
* Excretion is the elimination of the substances from the body. In rare cases, some drugs irreversibly accumulate in a tissue in the body.
Pharmacokinetics describes how the body affects a specific drug after administration. Pharmacokinetic properties of drugs may be affected by elements such as the site of administration and the concentration in which the drug is administered. These may affect the absorption rate.