Pharmacokinetics

A genius revelation from my Jesus has prompted me to start a new series entitled A Bit of Nursing. As a first semester nursing student I am learning how to act like a nurse, think like a nurse, and care like a nurse. Starting this series seems a bit silly (and boring) but, I am convinced that this will help me solidify the information I am learning and expose you to something a little different. This week I'm going to try and demystify a topic that is closer to you than you think...

Pharmacokinetics (farm-ico-kin-etics) is a fancy shmancy word for the process of your body working on the drugs you ingest for a cold, a headache, menstrual cramps and everything in between. Pharmacokinetics involves four processes; absorption, distribution, break down and removal. I'm going to spare you from a 2 hour lecture on all four processes today and just talk a bit about drug absorption. Everybody ready?

Absorption is the process of medicine going from your stomach to your bloodstream. That drug can be taken by mouth, as an injection (such as insulin), as an ointment or inhaled (like an inhaler). Let's look at Extra Strength Tylenol as an example. Before it can get to your bloodstream it has to get past your stomach and liver. These two organs serve as bouncers to the exclusive club that is your bloodstream. Of all the bits and pieces in a single Tylenol tablet, only a select few make the cut. Your stomach and liver throw out the bits that aren't fashionable enough or don't have the right attitude or aren't even on the list. Pretty soon that 500 mg tablet is dwindled down to 80 mg. Those precious 80 mg have the privilege to travel the bloodstream until they reach your head for your headache or your tooth for your toothache. Your liver and stomach have allowed the Tylenol to do its job effectively without all of the unnecessary, extra milligrams. 

From this brief explanation of drug absorption, I hope now you look at your body a little bit different and appreciate your bouncers for doing their job so wonderfully.