A drug will not function unless it is bound to a receptor: a longstanding confusion in basic pharmacology

Partha S. Saha


The disparity between the general definition of a ‘drug’ and the wide-spread mechanism of actions of receptor-dependent drugs may often mislead to believe that a drug-receptor interaction is always indispensable for a drug to exert its action. This short review is intended to rectify this basic misconception in pharmacology with the aid of a list of examples of several receptor-independent drugs in context to their mode of actions.


Receptor-independent drugs, Osmotic diuretics, Keratolytic agent, Chelating agents, Surfactants, Antacid, Protectants and adsorbents, Sucralfate, Laxatives, Cholestyramine, NAC

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