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      Multi-compound and drug-combination pharmacokinetic research on Chinese herbal medicines


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          Traditional medicine has provided a basis for health care and disease treatment to Chinese people for millennia, and herbal medicines are regulated as drug products in China. Chinese herbal medicines have two features. They normally possess very complex chemical composition. This makes the identification of the constituents that are together responsible for the therapeutic action of an herbal medicine challenging, because how to select compounds from an herbal medicine for pharmacodynamic study has been a big hurdle in such identification efforts. To this end, a multi-compound pharmacokinetic approach was established to identify potentially important compounds (bioavailable at the action loci with significant exposure levels after dosing an herbal medicine) and to characterize their pharmacokinetics and disposition. Another feature of Chinese herbal medicines is their typical use as or in combination therapies. Coadministration of complex natural products and conventional synthetic drugs is prevalent worldwide, even though it remains very controversial. Natural product–drug interactions have raised wide concerns about reduced drug efficacy or safety. However, growing evidence shows that incorporating Chinese herbal medicines into synthetic drug-based therapies delivers benefits in the treatment of many multifactorial diseases. To address this issue, a drug-combination pharmacokinetic approach was established to assess drug–drug interaction potential of herbal medicines and degree of pharmacokinetic compatibility for multi-herb combination and herbal medicine–synthetic drug combination therapies. In this review we describe the methodology, techniques, requirements, and applications of multi-compound and drug-combination pharmacokinetic research on Chinese herbal medicines and to discuss further development for these two types of pharmacokinetic research.

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                Author and article information

                Acta Pharmacol Sin
                Acta Pharmacol Sin
                Acta Pharmacologica Sinica
                Springer Nature Singapore (Singapore )
                16 September 2022
                : 1-16
                GRID grid.9227.e, ISNI 0000000119573309, State Key Laboratory of Drug Research, Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, , Chinese Academy of Sciences, ; Shanghai, 201203 China
                © The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Chinese Pharmacological Society 2022, Springer Nature or its licensor holds exclusive rights to this article under a publishing agreement with the author(s) or other rightsholder(s); author self-archiving of the accepted manuscript version of this article is solely governed by the terms of such publishing agreement and applicable law.

                This article is made available via the PMC Open Access Subset for unrestricted research re-use and secondary analysis in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source. These permissions are granted for the duration of the World Health Organization (WHO) declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic.

                : 5 August 2022
                : 12 August 2022
                Review Article

                Pharmacology & Pharmaceutical medicine
                chinese herbal medicine,pharmacokinetics,multi-compound pharmacokinetic research,drug-combination pharmacokinetic research,pharmacokinetic compatibility


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