Commentary: a physiological approach to hepatic drug clearance

Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1975 Oct;18(4):377-90. doi: 10.1002/cpt1975184377.


A physiological approach has been developed recognizing that hepatic blood flow, the activity of the overall elimination process (intrinsic clearance), drug binding in the blood, and the anatomical arrangement of the hepatic circulation are the major biological determinants of hepatic drug clearance. This approach permits quantitative prediction of both the unbound and total drug concentration/time relationships in the blood after intravenous and oral administration, and any changes that may occur as a result of alterations in the above biological parameters. These considerations have led to a classification of drug metabolism based on the hepatic extraction ratio. The proposed classification allows prediction and interpretation of the effects of individual variations in drug-metabolizing activity, route of administration, pharmacokinetic interactions, and disease states on hepatic drug elimination.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Blood Proteins / metabolism
  • Drug Interactions
  • Half-Life
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Liver Circulation
  • Metabolic Clearance Rate
  • Models, Biological
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / blood
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / classification
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / metabolism*
  • Protein Binding


  • Blood Proteins
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations