Clinical Pharmacokinetics From The Beginning (a practical approach)

By Graham Lappin and Mark Seymour. Published 2022. ISBN: 9798402337688; 155 pp; available from Amazon (£6 – Kindle; £15 – paperback)

“Clinical Pharmacokinetics From The Beginning” is based on a lecture series written for university students studying pharmaceutical sciences and is intended to provide a foundational understanding of the key scientific concepts and an appreciation of how these are applied in the real world. In this regard, the book succeeds admirably and is equally relevant to both clinical and nonclinical settings (do not be misled by the title). As such it represents a valuable text not only for erstwhile pharmacokineticists, but also those active in other related disciplines such as toxicology and medicinal chemistry for whom pharmacokinetics can often be a “black box”, viewed only in terms of inputs and outputs with limited understanding of the underlying critical processes.

At 155 pages, the book is not an intimidating tome. Rather, six chapters succinctly cover the basics: general concepts, elimination kinetics, exposure, bioavailability, volume of distribution, clearance; before culminating in a final chapter that describes how the preceding are applied to understanding the pharmacokinetics of a therapeutic dosing regimen. The important equations are clearly explained, inter-dependencies highlighted, and biological context provided to avoid reducing the topic to a purely mathematical exercise. This is further assisted by the use throughout of a notional drug as a working example and actual data from approved medicines to provide context. Where appropriate the authors highlight the limitations of the book, directing the reader to advanced texts for a nuanced understanding of pharmacokinetic phenomena more complex than the basic examples discussed. The book exclusively describes the pharmacokinetics of small molecule (chemical) drugs, and as the stated scope is limited to the basics, it is understandable that other well-established modalities such as monoclonal antibodies are not discussed. Perhaps a chapter for a future edition?

Despite being based on a lecture series, the tone is never didactic, rather the prose is economical and informal which is both engaging and clear. Figures, graphs and tables are simple and monochrome, which does not detract from their readability, and no doubt has reduced publishing costs. Chapters are helpfully summarised, bibliographies provided, and appendices contain both a useful glossary of frequently used terms and definitions of pharmacokinetic parameters/symbols. The lack of an index is a surprise, but not a major shortcoming for a relatively short book that would take little time to flick through to find the relevant content. Perhaps an unexpected bonus for a self-published book is the availability of on-line resources, namely, downloadable tables, figures and equations. In addition, a series of videos designed to accompany the book are available on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/c/GrahamLappin/featured).

In summary, this book should be essential reading for early career drug discovery and development scientists whose disciplines are impacted by pharmacokinetic data. Even the more experienced may find this book useful; I for one will doubtless be referring back to the book from time-to-time to refresh my understanding. At this price there is room on most bookshelves for a copy (virtual or otherwise).

Kemal Haque
Oktem BioPharma Consulting Ltd., UK