Bioavailability

a. The term bioavailability was defined in the first portion of this subcourse. In Figure 3-4, all 100 micrograms of the drug was available to the system, since it was absorbed. The amount of drug originally administered to the patient was not stated. That amount of administered drug could have ranged from 100 micrograms to 1000 milligrams or more. From the reading, you should have noted that absorption is not an easy process, and that any number of things can interfere with the process.

b. The controversy concerning generic drugs deserves consideration at this point. For example, switching a patient from one generic brand of ampicillin to another brand of ampicillin could cause some problems for some patients. Thus, one company's generic brand of a drug might not be able to be absorbed as quickly as another company's generic brand of the same drug. With other drugs and some patients the switch from one company's drug to another company's drug is of little consequence.

c. Drugs that present the most problems in terms of bioavailability are oral solids. That is because oral solids must disintegrate, dissolve, be water soluble, be fat soluble, unionize, and pass through the drastic pH changes from the stomach to the small intestine.

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