Definitions for mechanism of action

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  1. mechanism of action(n.)

    The mechanism by which a pharmacologically active substance produces an effect on a living organism or in a biochemical system; as, the mechanism of action of actinomycin involves its binding to DNA. The mechanism of action is usually considered to include an identification of the specific molecular targets to which a pharmacologically active substance binds or whose biochemical action it influences; a general recognition of the broad biochemical pathways (such as DNA synthesis, protein synthesis, cholesterol synthesis) which are inhibited or affected by a substance is termed its mode of action.

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  1. Mechanism of action

    In pharmacology, the term mechanism of action refers to the specific biochemical interaction through which a drug substance produces its pharmacological effect. A mechanism of action usually includes mention of the specific molecular targets to which the drug binds, such as an enzyme or receptor. For example, the mechanism of action of aspirin involves irreversible inhibition of the enzyme cyclooxygenase, therefore suppressing the production of prostaglandins and thromboxanes, thereby reducing pain and inflammation.


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