Therapeutic drug monitoring
Therapeutic drug monitoring is a branch of clinical chemistry and clinical pharmacology that specializes in the measurement of medication concentrations in blood. Its main focus is on drugs with a narrow therapeutic window, i.e. drugs that can easily be under- or overdosed. TDM aims at improving patient care by individually adjusting the dose of drugs for which clinical experience or clinical trials have shown it improved outcome in the general or special populations. In medicine, monitoring is the observation of a disease, condition or one or several medical parameters over time. It can be performed by continuously measuring certain parameters by using a medical monitor and/or by repeatedly performing medical tests. The therapeutic index is a comparison of the amount of a therapeutic agent that causes the therapeutic effect to the amount that causes toxicity. The related terms therapeutic window or safety window refer to a range of doses which optimize between efficacy and toxicity, achieving the greatest therapeutic benefit without resulting in unacceptable side-effects or toxicity. The therapeutic of a drug is the range of drug dosages which can treat disease effectively without having toxic effects. Medication with a small therapeutic window must be administered with care and control, frequently measuring blood concentration of the drug, to avoid harm.