Biotransformation of Drugs

Authored by: Les F. Chasseaud

Encyclopedia of Pharmaceutical Science and Technology

Print publication date:  July  2013
Online publication date:  July  2013

Print ISBN: 9781841848198
eBook ISBN: 9781351124874
Adobe ISBN:


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The term biotransformation of drugs can be defined as the chemical conversion of drugs to other compounds in the body. However, this definition excludes degradation due to any inherent chemical instability of drugs in biological media. These conversions are usually mediated by enzymes in the body’s organs, tissues, or biofluids, but occasionally, they may occur by non-enzymic reactions and even by a combination of both enzymic and nonenzymic processes. Synonymous with biotransformation in this context is the word metabolism, and indeed the terms drug biotransformation and drug metabolism are used to describe the same events and are often interchanged, seemingly somewhat randomly. If anything, the latter is the more popular term.

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