Meaning of the term "titrate down"?

I checked a dictionary, but no use. What do physicians specifically mean by the phrase, “I’ll then titrate down the dosage”?

Does it mean anything other than reduce the dosage?

I’m not familiar with the phrase, nor the context, but could it be that the physician would be taking something (say, a blood sample) and deriving the adequate concentration of medicine needed from it? Perhaps determining how much of a compound would make the blood too basic, or too acidic?

Titrations in chemistry are used mainly for concentration determinations, and are often pH based since there are plenty of pH indicators out there (non-reactive substances added to a mixture that will change colour, or precipitate out when the pH reaches a certain level). There are other uses, but I’m guessing that what you’re refering to has to do with this.

Of course, I may be totally wrong.

In medical parlance, titration means reducing dosage (or whatever) in accordance with the patient’s ability to tolerate it.

I work in respiratory therapy, and I often titrate oxygen percentage to a level that will get me a certain oxygen saturation level. For example, if I start someone at 50% O2, I may want to titrate down to 28%, so I will graduallly reduce the flow of oxygen until I achieve that goal, but all the while watching the patient to see if he/she is tolerating the “weaning” or titration.

Does this help?


All drugs have recommended dosages for partiuclar types of patients, and most often an individual can get away with sticking to that dose, provided it’s having the desired effect.

However, with some drugs, particularly those that can have nasty side-effects, you’d like to use the lowest possible efficacious dose. So you tweak (or titrate) the dose to the particular person. Usually it’s diserable to start with a higher than normal dose–ie. one that you know will control whatever symptoms are being treated-- and then decrease it, or titrate it down.

For example, say a kid is having a lot of problems with severe asthma. Inhaled steroids, in combo with other drugs, are very effective in controlling such a condition. Given that you–and the kid-- generally want to get on top things very quickly, you will prescribe a dose of steriods you know will work. However, even though these drugs are very safe when used in recommended doses and with good inhaling technique, you’d still like to keep the kid’s exposure to them at a minimum. So you gradually decrease the dosage until symptoms start to return. Then you settle on the dose one notch up-- that is, the lowest dose which provided good symtom control.