Why Is It Better To Use The Term "Susceptible" Rather Than "Sensitive" In Describing An Organism's Response To A Drug?


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Mary Frederick answered
The term susceptible means one is easily affected with something or influenced by it. It also means one is sensitive to something or one possesses a sensitive nature or feelings toward something.

The term sensitive means reacting to stimuli from outside objects, being keenly susceptible to stimuli. It also means rapid or drastic change, due some external force or condition. Immediate response or reaction to sudden change is proof of sensitivity.

The words susceptible and sensitive are interchangeable in some uses of these words. When using them to describe a reaction of an organism to a drug the better word is susceptible. The term susceptible means sensitivity is likely when a particular organism is exposed to a particular drug.

An example is in the case of penicillin usage within families. A mother proves to be allergic to this drug, therefore we would say she is sensitive to this drug. This has been proven by the reaction of her body to the drug. Often, in the past when a mother has had a serious reaction to penicillin, paediatricians refrained from giving her birth children this drug.

Experience taught these doctors, a child of a mother allergic to penicillin would more than likely, be susceptible to the drug. The child's chances for being sensitive to the drug was based on susceptibility to sensitivity of the drug. Risking the child's life by giving the child penicillin was not a choice. Susceptibility to a drug is sufficient reason to avoid it.

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