Pharmacokinetic effects of altered plasma protein binding of drugs in renal disease

Eur J Drug Metab Pharmacokinet. 1984 Jul-Sep;9(3):275-82. doi: 10.1007/BF03189651.


The measurement of plasma drug concentrations provides no insight into the relationship between the free and the plasma-protein-bound fractions of drugs. Plasma protein binding may decrease in renal disease due to uremia, hypoalbuminemia, or due to drug interactions. Decreased plasma protein binding leads to an increase in free plasma fraction causing an increase in volume of distribution and a shorter elimination half life. The increase in the apparent volume of distribution and the shorter elimination half life cause a decrease in total plasma concentration. Therefore, the free drug concentration is more reliable than the total plasma concentration for therapeutic drug monitoring. However, the free amount in plasma and in tissue and the tissue-bound amount remain unchanged under steady state conditions. Thus, a decrease in plasma protein binding in renal disease usually does not lead to increased drug toxicity, and alteration of drug dosage is not required, although the total plasma concentration may be found to be considerably lower than normal. In addition to plasma protein binding, alteration of tissue binding must also be considered for the determination of the appropriate dosage of some drugs in renal disease.

MeSH terms

  • Biological Availability
  • Blood Proteins / metabolism*
  • Half-Life
  • Humans
  • Kidney Diseases / blood*
  • Kidney Diseases / drug therapy
  • Kinetics
  • Mathematics
  • Metabolic Clearance Rate
  • Models, Biological
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / administration & dosage
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / blood*
  • Protein Binding
  • Serum Albumin / metabolism


  • Blood Proteins
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Serum Albumin