There are plenty of reasons to find good ways to communicate just how a drug works. It used to be a lot easier. You know, communicating about receptors using, for example, a lock and key analogy or similar. The thing is, though, that a lot of novel drug discoveries are far more advanced and complicated. Take the novel PARP inhibitors used in the treatment of various cancers. They work in patients with mutations in the BRCA genes. These patients are by the way at higher risk for developing cancers. The mode of action of PARPi is quite elegant. PARP – or enzyme poly ADP ribose polymerase – is a protein involved in the repair of single-strand breaks in DNA. When inhibited this will increase the number of single-strand breaks and eventually lead to double-strand breaks and cancer cell death.
A mechanism of action very different from what we were used to in the past. An one, that many doctors will struggle to comprehend. And when it’s hard for the doctors just imagine how patients will feel. The thing is, that a good understanding of the MoA as well as the pathophysiology of the disease are important in securing appropriate drug use – both for physicians and for patients – and in eliminating medication errors.
So when you need to communicate about your drugs MoA, ask yourself what it is that you want to achieve. Ask also how your communication will help to achieve this.