Severe burn injury results in a multifaceted physiological response that significantly alters drug pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics (PK/PD). This response includes hypovolemia, increased vascular permeability, increased interstitial hydrostatic pressure, vasodilation, and hypermetabolism. These physiologic alterations impact drug distribution and excretion—thus varying the drug therapeutic effect on the body or microorganism. To this end, in order to optimize critical care for the burn population it is essential to understand how burn injury alters PK/PD parameters. The purpose of this article is to describe the relationship between burn injury and drug PK/PD. We conducted a literature review via PubMed and Google to identify burn-related PK/PD studies. Search parameters included “pharmacokinetics,” “pharmacodynamics,” and “burns.” Based on our search parameters, we located 38 articles that studied PK/PD parameters specifically in burns. Twenty-seven articles investigated PK/PD of antibiotics, 10 assessed analgesics and sedatives, and one article researched an antacid. Out of the 37 articles, there were 19 different software programs used and eight different control groups. The mechanisms behind alterations in PK/PD in burns remain poorly understood. Dosing techniques must be adapted based on burn injury-related changes in PK/PD parameters in order to ensure drug efficacy. Although several PK/PD studies have been undertaken in the burn population, there is wide variation in the analytical techniques, software, and study sample sizes used. In order to refine dosing techniques in burns and consequently improve patient outcomes, there must be harmonization among PK/PD analyses.
From the *Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of California, Davis, School of Medicine; †Laboratory Animal Medicine Program, University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine; and ‡Division of Burn Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of California, Davis, School of Medicine.
Address correspondence to Nam K. Tran, PhD, MS, FACB, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of California, 3455 Tupper Hall, Davis, CA 95616.