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Drug tolerance occurs when a subject's reaction to a psychopharmaceutical drug (such as a painkiller, intoxicant, or antibacterial) decreases so that larger doses are required to achieve the same effect. Drug tolerance can involve both psychological drug tolerance and physiological factors. In addicted patients, the resulting pattern of uncontrolled escalating doses may lead to drug overdose.
Tolerance may be related to familiarity of "drug onset cues". For example, the mind and body can become conditioned in response to environmental cues such as the sight of a needle or an alcoholic beverage, and therefore can produce the foundation of physiological responses before an actual drug is introduced to the body.  Thus, if there is no drug that follows said perception, or, if the dose is too small to produce the expected effect, such can trigger intense cravings in the addict. Exemplified, this theory may explain why "just one drink", or even just the sight or presence of familiar alcohol cues can cause a relapse in the case of a recovering alcoholic.
Tachyphylaxis is a medical term referring to the rapid development of drug tolerance.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Drug_tolerance". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|