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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Therapeutic Drug Monitoring Definition

Therapeutic Drug Monitoring (TDM) is a branch of clinical chemistry that specializes in the measurement of medication levels in serum. TDM requires that the laboratory make quantitative measurements of drugs and/or their metabolites. These measurements are almost always made on patient serum samples. TDM can be contrasted with urine drug testing. Urine drug testing is usually performed to detect or monitor drug abuse or check patient compliance when a drug with high abuse potential has been prescribed. Determining actual concentrations are less important for urine drugs of abuse screening. Providing accurate concentrations for TDM, on the other hand, is essential. Serum concentrations provided with TDM allow clinicians to adjust medication dosages as well as assess a patient's drug metabolism response and their compliance or dosing regimen.