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What does 'titrate' mean in the context of medicine?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by Ezekiel20, May 15, 2007.

  1. Ezekiel20

    Ezekiel20 Resident 10+ Year Member

    Aug 18, 2005
    Sydney, NSW Australia
    Hi all,

    I remember back in highschool chemistry, to 'titrate' meant to try and find the concentration of an unknown solution by means of a chemical reaction with a solution of a known concentration.

    Indeed, Stedmans' medical dictionary defines it as:

    "To analyze volumetrically by a solution (the titrant) of known strength to an end point."

    However, I've seen the word titrate being used in medical textbooks, and never really understood what it meant.

    For example, this is a quote from a book I have, on the topic of analgesia in burns patients:

    "Use morphine in IV aliquots and titrate for good analgesia."

    I'm guessing that the word 'titrate' is used loosely in medicine, to mean 'adjust' (eg the dose of a drug).

    Anyone care to enlighten me?

    Thanks in advance
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  3. Critical Mass

    Critical Mass Guest

    Feb 23, 2007
    When you're mixing acids and bases in chemistry, you titrate one with the other until the concentration of one matches the other in some way as measured by an indicator.

    Medicine is no different. Match the dose with the proper response.
  4. Ezekiel20

    Ezekiel20 Resident 10+ Year Member

    Aug 18, 2005
    Sydney, NSW Australia
    Thanks, that makes sense :thumbup:.
  5. AmoryBlaine

    AmoryBlaine the last tycoon 7+ Year Member

    May 1, 2006
    It also usually implies that you can't just load the patient up right away but that you need to "start low and go slow." You'll hear that phrase alot in medicine.
  6. Tired

    Tired Fading away 7+ Year Member

    Dec 12, 2006
    Made me think of my (required) month on Geriatrics.

    I think I just threw up a little inside my mouth.

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