Drug handling: Suggested questions

Last updated: Sunday, July 05, 2015

They may not apply to every situation you come across, but here are some questions you should be thinking about in practice.

The Medicine

  • When was the medicine started, and was a loading dose given?
  • What is the current dose, and have there been any changes in the dose? 
  • Check if any previous drug levels have been taken and if so, check the time they were taken in relation to dosing and confirm the units of measurement.
  • Are there any drug interactions that might affect clearance?

The Patient

  • What is the age, weight and gender of the patient?
  • Does the patient have any kidney or liver dysfunction that might affect the clearance of the medicine? Are there any other medical conditions that might affect levels or drug response (e.g. low albumin levels may increase the amount of free phenytoin in the plasma)?
  • Is the patient responding to their treatment (levels may be adequate), and/or do they have potential signs of toxicity (levels may be too high)?

Going Forward

  • Who will monitor drug response and any drug levels after today? Do they know what they must do?
  • If the patient's levels of medication were too high or too low have the reasons be ascertained and how will this be prevented in future?