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Environmental pharmacology—Dosing the environment: IUPHAR review 36

Connolly, Christopher N.; Alexander, Stephen P.H.; Davies, Jamie A.; Spedding, Michael


Christopher N. Connolly

Jamie A. Davies

Michael Spedding


Pesticide action is predominantly measured as a toxicological outcome, with pharmacological impact of sublethal doses on bystander species left largely undocumented. Likewise, chronic exposure, which often results in responses different from acute administration, has also been understudied. In this article, we propose the application of standard pharmacological principles, already used to establish safe clinical dosing regimens in humans, to the ‘dosing of the environment’. These principles include relating the steady state dose of an agent to its beneficial effects (e.g. pest control), while minimising harmful impacts (e.g. off‐target bioactivity in beneficial insects). We propose the term ‘environmental therapeutic window’, analogous to that used in mammalian pharmacology, to guide risk assessment. To make pharmacological terms practically useful to environmental protection, quantitative data on pesticide action need to be made available in a freely accessible database, which should include toxicological and pharmacological impacts on both target and off‐target species.


Connolly, C. N., Alexander, S. P., Davies, J. A., & Spedding, M. (2022). Environmental pharmacology—Dosing the environment: IUPHAR review 36. British Journal of Pharmacology, 179(23), 5172-5179.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 4, 2022
Online Publication Date Aug 16, 2022
Publication Date 2022-12
Deposit Date Aug 20, 2022
Publicly Available Date Sep 20, 2022
Journal British Journal of Pharmacology
Print ISSN 0007-1188
Electronic ISSN 1476-5381
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 179
Issue 23
Pages 5172-5179
Keywords PERSPECTIVE, agriculture, biodiversity, environment, fungicide, neonicotinoid, pesticide, pharmacology, therapeutic window
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