Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan


  • Nadia WebbEmail author
  • John C. Courtney
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_1745


Potentiation of hydrogen


pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. The pH scale commonly in use ranges from 0 to 14. Neutral solutions are designated as the midpoint of the scale (numerically equal to 7). As solutions become more alkaline, the number value increases; as they become more acidic, the number value decreases. Drugs tend to be weakly acidic or alkaline. The difference between the pH or a drug and the pH of the solution into which it is being dissolved can either expedite or impede the flow of a drug across a semipermeable barrier, such as the barrier between GI tract and systemic circulation or between blood and brain.

Drugs cross these barriers by a limited number of mechanisms: passive diffusion, facilitated passive diffusion, active transport, or pinocytosis. All things being equal, the drugs move toward equal distribution on both sides of a membrane. Very small molecules tend to travel across the cell membrane with little...

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References and Readings

  1. Brunton, L. B., Lazo, J. S., & Parker, K. L. (Eds.). (2005). Goodman & Gilman’s the pharmacological basis of therapeutics (11th ed.). New York: McGraw Hill.Google Scholar
  2. Stahl, S. M. (2008). Stahl’s essential psychopharmacology: Neuroscientific basis and practical applications. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Children’s Hospital of New OrleansNew OrleansUSA
  2. 2.Socorro Mental HealthPresbyterian Medical ServicesSocorroUSA