I explain the concept of bound drug and free drug. What is the function of each?
Most drugs bind to proteins, either albumin or alpha-1 acid glycoprotein (AAG), to a greater or lesser extent. Drugs prefer to be free, it is in this state that they can travel throughout the body, in and out of tissues and have their biological effect. The downside of this is that they are easy prey for metabolising enzymes.
As you would expect, more highly bound drugs have a longer duration of action and a lower volume of distribution. Generally high extraction ratio drugs' clearance is high because of low protein binding and, conversely, low extraction ratio drugs' clearance is strongly dependent on the amount of protein binding.
Why is this important? If a drug is highly protein bound, you need to give loads of it to get a theraputic effect; as so much is stuck to protein. But what happens if another agent comes along and starts to compete with the drug for the binding site on the protein? Yes, you guessed it, the amount of free drug is increased. This is really important for drugs that are highly protein bound: if a drug is 97% bound to albumin and there is a 3% reduction in binding (displaced by another ...
The concepts of bound drug and free drug are given.