It is generally assumed that there exists a well-defined relationship between drug dose and drug effect and that this can be expressed by a dose-response curve. This paper argues that there is no such clear relation and that the dose-response curve provides only limited information about the drug effect. It is demonstrated that tolerance development during the measurement of the dose-response curve may cause major distortion of the curve and it is argued that the curve may only be used to indicate the response to the first administration of a drug, before tolerance has developed. The precise effect of a drug on an individual depends on the dynamic relation between several variables, particularly the level of tolerance, the dose anticipated by the organism and the actual drug dose. Simulations with a previously published mathematical model of drug tolerance demonstrate that the effect of a dose smaller than the dose the organism has developed tolerance to is difficult to predict and may be opposite to the action of the usual dose.
"ASPECTS OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN DRUG DOSE AND DRUG EFFECT,"
Dose-Response: An International Journal:
2, Article 6.
Available at: http://scholarworks.umass.edu/dose_response/vol7/iss2/6