Titration (Medication)

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Titration is a process by which the dosage of a drug or pharmacologically active compound is adjusted to meet the needs of the person receiving it. Titration typically starts with low dosages of a compound and gradually works up until side effects or negative outcomes are experienced.

TL;DR: Titration is tweaking the dose of medication to find an optimal balance between benefits and side effects.

A typical titration process starts at a low-dosage for a week or so, then increases that dose for another week or so, and continues the process until one of the following two events occur:

  1. Desired level of benefits are achieved
  2. Intolerable level of side effects are experienced

Drug titration is particularly important in cases where the dosage of a compound needed to provide therapeutic benefits is in close value to the dosage that causes unfavorable side effects. Simply put; titration is starting with a lower dose and working up to as much as one can safely tolerate.

Titration can be used reversely as well to gradually stop taking medication as well. This may be used to avoid withdrawal symptoms or more indirect effects related to the cessation of certain medications.

Drug titration is used in phase I clinical trials to assess the presentation of side effects (R). Such trials can be referred to as “dose-ranging” trials.