Figure

Elimination of a hypothetical drug with a half-life of 5 hours. The drug concentration decreases by 50% every 5 hours (i.e., t1/2 = 5 hours). The slope of the line is the elimination rate (kj.

the clinician must wait five half-lives (in this case, 25 hours) before administering the second drug. It will also require five half-lives for a drug to reach steady state (see Pharmacokinetics of Single Versus Multiple Dosing, later in the chapter), again, independent of the duration of the half-life. Steady state is when the amount of drug entering the body is equal to the amount of drug being eliminated in a given period. Finally, it is a rule of thumb (though certainly not absolute) that drugs are generally dosed every half-life (with allowance for rounding to convenient intervals). Thus, the concept of half-life has considerable importance for determining dosing frequency or adjusting doses in a patient.

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