Drug handling: Learning outcomes

Last updated: Friday, November 23, 2018

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to:
  • Explain the difference between pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, and terms such as half-life. 
  • Recognise the roles played by patient age and changes to kidney or liver function in determining drug clearance.
  • Know the right questions to ask when managing a patient who requires monitoring of drug levels for therapeutic reasons.

You can download a PDF of this whole tutorial (without interactive elements such as the Learning Exercises) and a one-page summary of key points.

You should allow 90 minutes to complete this tutorial, including the Learning Exercises.


If you are a hospital pre-registration pharmacist, this tutorial may help you achieve GPhC performance standards such as these:
  • A.3  Manage problems.
  • B1.11  Provide information and advice appropriate to the needs of the recipient(s).
  • C2.1  Provide considered and correct answers to queries, founded on research-based evidence.
  • C2.4  Actively provide information and advice to healthcare professionals

If you are a foundation pharmacist, this tutorial may assist with meeting certain competencies from the RPS framework including:
  • 1.4  Selection of the medicine (medicine-medicine, medicine-patient, and medicine-disease interactions).
  • 1.5  Medicine specific issues (ensures appropriate dose and regimen)
  • 1.7  Monitoring medicine therapy.
  • 3.3  Analysing information

Continuing professional development

Finally, here is a CPD activity you could consider:

★  When you next encounter a patient that needs monitoring of drug levels over a period of time, plot a graph of the changing levels. Where there are significant changes in level, can you explain them? Mark on the graph when doses were altered, and other factors that might affect the dose such as extent of renal impairment or the initiation of an interacting drug. What have you learned from this exercise?