What are potency and efficacy, and how are they different?

Addiction m2a1 discussion

Potency and efficacy are two of the most misunderstood concepts in the area of drug use. Many overdoses occur because the potency of the newly purchased drug is higher than that of the previously used drug. These concepts apply to drugs of abuse as well as over-the-counter medications.

Steven has a headache. He reaches for some pain relievers in his medicine cabinet. He finds two bottles: acetaminophen (325 mg) and ibuprofen (200 mg). The instructions for the acetaminophen say take 2 tablets
(650 mg total). The instructions for the ibuprofen say take 2 tablets (400 mg total). Steven assumes that because the dose is higher for the acetaminophen, it must work better.

To assist Steven with making an educated decision about which medication to take, complete the following:

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  • What are potency and efficacy, and how are they different?
  • What other factors might influence Steven’s decision?

Write your initial response in 200-300  words. Apply APA standards to citation of sources.

In this assignment, please consider the meanings of and differences in the concepts of potency and efficacy. Use scholarly definitions of both terms, cited and referenced using APA, as you address the required elements of this discussion. Remember, potency is about strength, and efficacy is about effect. Use your text and information on this site. There is an interesting slide presentation created by the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (n.d.) for more technical information!

While you write this discussion, you might want to consider any personal experiences you or loved ones have had. Please feel free to share these experiences if you would like!


American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. (n.d.).  Rational use of Drug Part IV: What is the relationship between
amount of drug in the body and the effect of the drug? Retrieved from https://www.aspects…



Please use a minimum of four references and you must use the above as a reference in the assignment

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