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 trainee pharmacist, this tutorial may help you achieve GPhC learning otucomes such as these:
  • LO 12 Take an all-inclusive approach to ensure the most appropriate course of action based on clinical, legal and professional considerations
  • LO 16 Apply professional judgement in all circumstances, taking legal and ethical reasoning into account
  • LO 30  Appraise the evidence base and apply clinical reasoning and professional judgement to make safe and logical decisions which minimise risk and optimise outcomes for the person
  • LO 34 Apply the principles of effective monitoring and management to improve health outcomes
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?