When we hear the words, “Pharmaceutical Science” or “Pharmacology”, what comes to our mind? Do you think of a bunch of people sitting around in a lab coat doing calculations and trying to come up with the most efficient delivery system for a chemical that has been discovered? Or do you think of a group of people who get together periodically and discuss what is the difference between pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics.
In order to answer that question, we need to take a brief look into both these scientific disciplines. First off, a pharmaceutical job is not just filled with equations and formulas, it’s also filled with real life cases. These are people who have a job developing a drug that will hopefully cure a disease. The entire process is extremely expensive as well. Because of this, the process involves the use of the most precise calculations and the most exact science and art.
Another difference between these two medical sciences is when we talk about “Pharmaco-kinetics”. This term is actually just an alternative name for Pharmacokinetics. Basically, the goal of this class is to make sure that a blood stream can make it way from where it is starting, to the point that it ends up at the organs that it needs to function normally. When you break it down to the simpler terms, this is how it all works.
In a nutshell, a Ph.D. student will learn the basics of how the body makes its own way from the source of nutrients through the various organs. First, the blood has to go through the capillaries and small vessels that it needs to pump out the right blood into the various areas. Then, the blood has to go back up to the heart and return to the capillaries and vessels that it needs to fill with oxygenated blood in order to pump it into the different areas of the body. This whole process takes place almost instantaneously, which is why we call it “Pharmacokinetics”. It all starts by taking the first drug, which is a nutrient or fuel.
The nutrient or fuel is then broken down into various compounds that are then used by the cells or even the body to produce various chemical reactions that are necessary for movement and existence. While this may sound very complicated, there are many different factors that have to be considered before starting the process. For example, there is the issue of blood volume and fluidity, which have to be taken into consideration, as well as things like gastric emptying, taking nutrition into the body, and even some basic biochemistry knowledge.
A big problem with understanding the above is that most pharmaceutical reps don’t seem to understand it themselves. Let’s look at it this way, if you’re at a swimming pool and you take a drink of water, does that mean that the water is going to just pass through your body or is it going to be absorbed and go somewhere else? In fact, the water simply goes where the body wishes it to go, as opposed to just sitting around in your stomach, or flowing all over the place like a river. So what is the difference between pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics? They are both essentially methods of studying the way the body functions when it’s put under physiological and environmental stresses. However, the key difference between them is that one deals with the absorption of nutrients while the other deals with the transport of these nutrients throughout the body.
Think about it, if you are in a stressful situation, you can try to calm down by taking some calming medication, or drink some water to relax, but you won’t be able to absorb the nutrients that the water or medication is meant to transport. Now if you were to take a supplement, instead of calming down or absorbing the nutrients, they will be transported into your body much quicker due to a lack of a two-way block. If you want to understand the difference between the two, it all comes down to how quickly different things can be digested and absorbed into the body. In a stressful situation, the body can’t slow its digestive process very much because of the stimuli that it’s under. Now what happens in supplements is that the supplement is specifically formulated to speed up the absorption of certain nutrients more than others, thus giving the user a maximum benefit for each dosage.
It’s difficult to fully answer the question, “what is the difference between pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics?” Because it all depends on what you’re trying to find and how you’re going about studying it. On one end of the spectrum, you might want to slow down the rate at which your body breaks down and absorbs material to prevent an infection or injury from happening. On the other end of the spectrum, you might be taking drugs to increase muscle mass, energy, stamina or anything else. So don’t worry, we’ll do the answer for you. All it takes is a little research.