The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Pharmacology in the Clinical Lab: Therapeutic Drug Monitoring and Pharmacogenomics. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Drug Metabolism

The liver plays a major role in converting lipophilic, nonpolar molecules (including drugs) to more polar, water-soluble forms through a series of enzymatic reactions. Drug molecules can be modified by either phase I or phase ll reactions. These reactions are carried out by several important classes of enzymes.

  • Phase I reactions alter chemical structure by oxidation, reduction, or hydrolysis.
  • Phase ll reactions conjugate drugs to create products that are water-soluble.