For years, therapeutic medication and substance monitoring, often referred to as therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) has remained an asset for patients that need to monitor their metabolic medication levels to determine dosing guidelines on the path to treatment. Brad Schaffer of Medcomp Sciences acknowledges that many people may not know some of the specifics of the practices that Medcomp uses to monitor and measure medication to figure out the best dosage levels for a patient’s body. Here, he discusses therapeutic monitoring as well as who stands to benefit from the process.
What is Therapeutic Medication and Substance Monitoring?
Therapeutic medication and substance monitoring is used by healthcare professionals to measure specific drugs and their breakdown products. This is performed by monitoring the substance in the blood at timed intervals, which helps maintain a constant concentration of the medication. The process is used because it is not always simple to maintain a steady concentration of a drug for some medications, as everyone will metabolize at different rates depending on their age, health, and genetics. Typically, therapeutic monitoring is used for drugs that have a narrow ratio between toxic and therapeutic doses. By using therapeutic medication and substance monitoring along with DNA insight from pharmacogenetics testing, professionals can help a person’s healthcare providers find the best dosage levels for their medications.
The Importance of Therapeutic Medication and Substance Monitoring
The importance of therapeutic medication and substance monitoring is clear- these tests are crucial for ensuring that medications are taken at the proper dosage to be effective without harming the patient. Drugs that require therapeutic monitoring are often ones that are taken for a lifetime and must be maintained at steady concentrations while a person experiences many different changes as they live and age. Certain conditions such as kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, and liver disease can impact how the body processes monitored drugs, and therapeutic monitoring helps keep treatment on the path to success. Through helping practitioners identify when a person does not take their medication as prescribed or note drug interactions that can make concentrations either higher or lower than necessary, the monitoring helps dosing personalized to the patient.
Who Needs Therapeutic Medication and Substance Monitoring?
There are many different types of patients that may benefit from therapeutic monitoring. For example, people that have just started taking a medicine can use the process to determine their most effective dose- following up regularly to ensure its efficacy frequently. The process is commonly used for individuals taking medicines that are notoriously difficult to dose including certain antibiotics, anti-seizure medication, drugs to treat autoimmune diseases, and medications for bipolar disorder. This is far from an exhaustive list, however, and practitioners may decide to monitor one’s body to any new medication that can present complications.