Toxins and venoms produced by different organisms contain peptides that have evolved to have highly selective and potent pharmacological effects on specific targets for protection and predation. Several toxin-derived peptides have become drugs and are used for the management of diabetes, hypertension, chronic pain, and other medical conditions. Despite the similarity in their composition (amino acids as the building blocks), toxin-derived peptide drugs have very profound differences in their structure and conformation, in their physicochemical properties (that affect solubility, stability, etc.), and subsequently in their pharmacokinetics (the processes of absorption, distribution, metabolism, and elimination following their administration to patients). This review summarizes and critically analyzes the pharmacokinetic properties of toxin-derived peptide drugs: (1) the relationship between the chemical structure, physicochemical properties, and the pharmacokinetics of the specific drugs, (2) the major pharmacokinetic properties and parameters of these drugs, and (3) the major pharmacokinetic variability factors of the individual drugs. The structural properties of toxin-derived peptides affect their pharmacokinetics and pose some limitations on their clinical use. These properties should be taken into account during the development of new toxin-derived peptide drugs, and for the efficient and safe use of the clinically approved drugs from this group in the individual patients.
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