Functional and structural factors are of considerable importance in pharmacological interventions. Knowledge of the effects of a therapeutic agent on lifespan will help in effective prescription. Many drugs have been demonstrated to interfere with the developmental stages of a fetus resulting in congenital malformations. Also, the neonates’ tissues, organs, and systems are not entirely developed. The pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamics parameters of children are not the same as adults even when adjusted for weight and the body surface area (Burchum &Rosenthal, 2016). Every drug is unique and should be sufficiently understood before prescribing. The elderly have organs and systems that are changing, though the differences with the younger population are not very high. Kidney dysfunction is the primary cause of pharmacokinetic issues (Aymanns, et al., 2010). One of the disastrous therapeutic mistakes happened with Thalidomide and Chloramphenicol in 1957 and 1959 respectively. These misadventures led to the tightening of pharmaceutical laws regarding efficacy and safety.
The normal homeostatic functions in adults are not always adequate, and their responses to drugs fluctuate. Drug metabolism and the renal elimination of drug components are impaired in the elderly. When there is any physiologic stress such as that from a pharmacologic agent the body of the elderly will fail to maintain homeostasis (Mangoni & Jackson, 2004). So, a therapeutic plan should consider only agents with established efficacy and approval. Lactating and pregnant women need to be careful and use labeled drugs because the unintentional transfer of medications from mother to baby via placenta and breast milk usually occurs. Also, pregnant and lactating mothers, clinicians, and pharmacists need to rely on drugs that have been used for a long time because of their fetal and neonatal safety (Sachdeva, Patel, & Patel, 2009).
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Indeed, pharmacokinetics varies across the lifespan. Metabolism and excretion are the most important aspects where challenges and drug responses vary. Significantly, water and fat soluble drugs differ among neonates and the elderly. Children do not have some pancreatic enzymes needed for drug metabolism. The FDA encourages drug study and labeling to help people administer the right and established medication.
Aymanns, C., Keller, F., Maus, S., Hartmann, B., & Czock, D. (2010). Review on pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics and the aging kidney. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol.5 (2):314-27. doi: 10.2215/CJN.03960609.
Burchum, J. R., & Rosenthal, L. D. (2016). Lehne’s Pharmacology for nursing care (9th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.
Mangoni, A. A., & Jackson, S. H. D. (2004). Age-related changes in pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics: basic principles and practical applications. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 57(1), 6–14. http://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-2125.2003.02007.x
Sachdeva, P., Patel, B. G., & Patel, B. K. (2009). Drug Use in Pregnancy; a Point to Ponder! Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 71 (1), 1–7. http://doi.org/10.4103/0250-474X.51941