How are standard adult dosages for medicines determined when each body has a unique composition and reacts differently?

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How are standard adult dosages for medicines determined when each body has a unique composition and reacts differently?

In: Biology

In sciences, there’s a tendency for things to trend towards the average/mean. Most people are ‘average’. They aren’t so unique or exceptional that they require special considerations – and if they do, these considerations are accounted for.

Drugs have what’s known as a therapeutic index, which basically measures how lenient you can be with dosing and still have it do what you want it to do but not cause any significant side effects. The wider this index, the more lenient you can be. It’s the space between the dose needed to be effective and the dose needed to cause an adverse effect.

The closer the space (or the narrower the index), the more the need for titration/adjustment, which is where you’re started on a dose and it’s slowly increased until its effective. These usually have a dosing scheme based on your body weight or kidney/liver function or some other measurement. Some drugs may have a standard dose and then titrated until its effective but not causing adverse effects.

Kids vary a lot in weight throughout their growth so you have to be especially careful with their dosing. This is why when kids take medications, there’s a chart telling you how much they should take if it’s an off-the-counter drug.