Course Overview


This Course reviews pharmacokinetic concepts related to how medicines act on the human body, as well as pharmacokinetic concepts that explore how the human body acts on medicines.

Learning Outcomes

  • Use your understanding of the relationship between pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics to prevent adverse medication events that may impact on patient outcomes
  • Identify the processes through which the human body absorbs, distributes, metabolises and eliminates medicines in order to educate patients on effective medication management
  • Link the concepts of pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics with best clinical practice in order to enhance delivery of care

Topics include:

  • An overview of pharmacokinetics (PK) and pharmacodynamics (PD)
  • The ADE (absorption, distribution and excretion) curve and the implications of the therapeutic range
  • A definition of bioavailability and its effects on medicine quality, brand substitution and the use of generic medications
  • How therapeutic medicine monitoring is used, how protein binding influences distribution, and how hepatic metabolic elimination and reabsorption occur
  • Methods of medicine elimination, including renal elimination, and factors that affect elimination and reabsorption
  • Multiple dose regimes, making reference to the definitions of peak and trough levels, loading dose and steady state
  • Pharmacogenomics (personalised medicine) and genetic variability in response to medicines
  • Pharmacokinetic medicine-medicine interactions

Target audience

All healthcare professionals, particularly RNs, medication-endorsed ENs and Nurse Practitioners working in a variety of specialities.


Review the basic concepts relating to how medicines work on the human body, and the importance of bioavailability, half-life, medicine-medicine interactions, and peak and trough levels in therapy.


Pharmacological therapy and medication administration is fundamental in professional nursing practice. It involves a strong patient and ethical focus, as well as ongoing education in order to have a positive impact on patient outcomes. However, many of the principles underlying how medicines work are often difficult to comprehend. As safe administration of medicines is a priority, it is essential that nurses continue to demonstrate knowledge of the concepts and methods of medicine absorption, distribution and elimination in their patient care.

Health professionals in Australia that are registered with AHPRA are required to obtain continuing professional development (CPD) hours/points each year that relates to their context of practice, in order to comply with mandatory regulatory requirements.