The role of the protein-binding on the mode of drug action as well the interactions with other drugs

Eur J Drug Metab Pharmacokinet. 2008 Oct-Dec;33(4):225-30. doi: 10.1007/BF03190876.


Drug transport and disposition are influenced by a non-specific and reversible drug binding to plasma and tissues proteins. Albumin and al acid glycoprotein are the most important transport proteins of the blood. Albumin possesses specific sites for acidic and basic drug binding and can interact with them in the plasma since a third site is trapped only by digoxin. Diseases and stress conditions induce conformational changes either in plasma or in tissue proteins by the synthesis of endogenous substances which can strong interfere with the amount of the free pharmacological effective drug ratio. This may affect the binding of drugs in target molecules inducing significant pharmacokinetic alterations. Stress conditions are associated with FFA increase in serum playing an antagonistic role with other acidic molecules (e.g. ampicillin) to the same binding site. The bounded drug is displaced and freer ratio is available to interact with various organ receptors leading to pharmacological effect enhancement and therefore to side effects manifestation such as seizures. Furthermore conjunctive tissues diseases, ageing, prolonged bleeding, starvation or diseases affecting protein profile, characterized by reduced total plasma proteins, followed by albumin decrease and lessen binding sites lead to more free drug availability enhancing its pharmacological effect. Increased a1-acid glycoprotein the acute phase protein as by heart infraction or liver morbidities (e.g CCl4 intoxication) mainly occupied from basic substances, in the case of cationic drug treatment resulted to the enhancement of them and consequently to pronounced effectiveness. In addition, renal failure reduced free fractions of many acidic drugs. It may be concluded that by narrowed therapeutic index of a medicine, and when drug/drug or drug/disease interactions are anticipated, drug monitoring seems to be necessary for its dosage adjustment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Drug Interactions*
  • Drug Monitoring / methods
  • Humans
  • Orosomucoid / metabolism
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / metabolism*
  • Protein Binding
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Serum Albumin / metabolism*


  • Orosomucoid
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Proteins
  • Serum Albumin