Pharmacokinetic Software for the Health Sciences
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Computer assisted learning has an important role in the teaching of pharmacokinetics to health sciences students because it transfers the emphasis from the purely mathematical domain to an ‘experiential’ domain in which graphical and symbolic representations of actions and their consequences form the major focus for learning. Basic pharmacokinetic concepts can be taught by experimenting with the interplay between dose and dosage interval with drug absorption (e.g. absorption rate, bioavailability), drug distribution (e.g. volume of distribution, protein binding) and drug elimination (e.g. clearance) on drug concentrations using library (‘canned’) pharmacokinetic models.
Such ‘what if’ approaches are found in calculator-simulators such as PharmaCalc, Practical Pharmacokinetics and PK Solutions. Others such as SAAM II, ModelMaker, and Stella represent the ‘systems dynamics’ genre, which requires the user to conceptualise a problem and formulate the model on-screen using symbols, icons, and directional arrows.
The choice of software should be determined by the aims of the subject/course, the experience and background of the students in pharmacokinetics, and institutional factors including price and networking capabilities of the package(s). Enhanced learning may result if the computer teaching of pharmacokinetics is supported by tutorials, especially where the techniques are applied to solving problems in which the link with healthcare practices is clearly established.
KeywordsIntermittent Infusion Absorption Rate Constant Serum Drug Concentration Computer Assisted Learning Library Drug
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