The most important medicines

People have long learned to find and create medicines for various diseases. One of the first medicines was cataloged by Hippocrates. He was able to describe the effect of 200 drugs. To date, pharmacists have moved much further.

They have already created more than 200 thousand different medicines. But even in this multitude of means there are those that have become a significant breakthrough for medicine. It can be safely said that the world has changed due to these medicines.

The most important medicines

Opium.

Pain is one of the main enemies of a person. It is simply unbearable to carry it. Here are scientists and doctors and they were looking for a remedy that can overcome pain. The first such well-known and widely used medicine was opium. The doctors of ancient Greece, Rome, China and India knew that the hypnotic poppy has useful properties. They dried the juice from the immature heads of this plant. The resulting opium tincture helped ease the pain. And in 1806 the pharmacist Friedrich Serturer was able to isolate white crystals from opium alkaloids. They were called morphine. This name is directly related to Morpheus, the god of dreams.

The appearance in medicine of morphine, together with a syringe invented in 1853, gave a new impetus in the battles against pain. However, everything was not so simple – both opium and morphine are addictive. Physicians were forced to seek the same effective alternative that would not cause addiction. In 1874, from opium, scientists were able to synthesize heroin. He had even stronger analgesic abilities than morphine. The new drug was freely sold in pharmacies until 1910. When it was proved that heroin is an even more terrible drug, it was quickly removed from the shelves.

Today it is known that opium has become the ancestor of all analgesics with narcotic properties. Half a century ago, scientists could synthesize phenadon, promedol, fentanyl, deprivan, butorfan, tramadol and other medications. Some alkaloids of opium have also been isolated. Codeine helps fight cough, and papaverine is an excellent vasodilator. However, practically all opium-based substances are listed in the narcotic lists. Storage and sale of them is under the strict supervision of the relevant authorities. A vaccine against smallpox.

It is said that this disease appeared 3 thousand years ago in Egypt and India. For many centuries smallpox was one of the main enemies of civilization. Scare epidemics wiped out entire cities and countries. The struggle with smallpox resulted in the victory of man in 1980. Then WHO officially declared that the disease is completely destroyed in all developed states of the Earth. This was due to the general vaccination of the population.

For the first time, the method of vaccination was developed by Edward Jenner, a doctor from England. The first inoculation was held on May 14, 1796. Then Jenner was able to plant the eight-year-old James Phipps lymph from the hand of a peasant woman Sarah Nelmes, who fell ill with cowpox. After a month and a half, the doctor had already injected the lymph of another patient, sick with smallpox. After vaccinations, the boy remained healthy.

This experiment was repeated 23 times. In 1798 Jenner published the results of his works in the article “Investigation of the causes and actions of cowpox.” In the same year, vaccination was introduced in the navy and the army of England. Although Napoleon was at that time in a state of war with England, he ordered in honor of the opening of the doctor to cast a gold medal. In 1805, the emperor introduced vaccination in France.

Jenner’s discovery led to the rapid emergence of vaccinations against other diseases – hepatitis, pertussis, diphtheria, rubella, tetanus … Quite recently, in America, the first anti-cancer vaccine was created in 2007. This remedy should prevent cervical cancer caused by human papillomavirus.

The most important medicines

Ether.

As early as 1525, the alchemist and physician Paracelsus discovered the narcotic effect of sulfur ether. But before it was used as an anesthetic, it was still very far away.The discovery of this property of the ether was made accidentally in 1797 by the English chemist Gemfri Davy. When the scientist conducted experiments with gas, he suddenly revealed that it causes pleasant sensations, improving the mood. Chemist called the airwaves “fun-filled gas.” These properties interested Davy, and he suggested using the ether in surgery. But the idea for half a century was forgotten.

In 1818 another Englishman, Michael Faraday, was working on the air. He in his work described the impact on himself of the sleepy gas vapors. But this work for a long time remained misunderstood. Practical anesthesia came to medicine much later. In 1844, the American dentist Horace Wells decided to remove his tooth. For help, he turned to his colleague. Wells, for courage, inhaled a portion of “laughing gas,” and the operation was pretty painless. A delighted dentist went to Boston. There he persuaded his colleague William Morton to pay attention to a new tool. Doctors in January 1845 even arranged a public demonstration of their method of anesthesia. But the show turned into a fiasco, colleagues simply ridiculed Wells.

But this idea has sunk into the soul of a chemist and physician Charles Jackson. Once he taught Morton and knew his abilities. An experienced mentor told his pupil his thoughts on how best to use sulfur ether for anesthesia. This was the first step towards long-term cooperation and enmity. The ambitious Morton with persistence began to experiment with the ether, he did it secretly from all. The doctor came up with a special device, which is a bottle with a flexible tube. It was intended for better evaporation of the ether. Morton conducted his experiments on himself, making sure of the effectiveness of the tool. On September 30, 1846, Eben Frost became the first patient to have a tooth removed with ether.

The news of the success of the dentist flew to John Warren, the head physician of the hospital in Boston. He invited Morton to become his assistant, so that he would help him during the operation. It was held on October 16, 1846 in the clinical department of the Boston City Hospital. A lot of doctors, students and just onlookers gathered at the new facility. All of them observed the first public surgery in the world with the participation of an anesthesiologist. The Morton apparatus was used to process the 25-year-old printer Gilbert Abbott. Through the air, Warren was able to quietly remove a tumor on the neck of the patient. When the operation was over, the surgeon declared: “Dear colleagues, this is not a fraud!”. Thus, the date of this operation was officially considered the birthday of the current anesthesiology.

Today, with general anesthesia, there are already other, more modern drugs and sophisticated devices. However, the very general principle of immersion in chemical sleep remained exactly the same for a hundred and fifty years. And all attempts to create anesthesia using other principles of success did not have any effect.

The most important medicines

Cocaine.

This substance has long been an integral part of many local anesthetic agents. We are talking about lidocaine, novocaine, dicaine, trimecaine and others. Today, it is impossible to imagine dentistry, neurology, plastic surgery, gynecology or traumatology without them, as well as a number of other medical directions.

Cocaine was first learned by the conquistadors who conquered South America. Then the knowledge of the “magic” substance was confirmed by researchers and travelers. All of them observed that the locals were chewing the leaves of the coca plant. This helped the Indians suffer pain, hunger and fatigue. In 1860, chemist Albert Niemann was able to figure out what the mystery is in these leaves. The German isolated their main active substance – alkaloid cocaine. But Niman died and did not finish his work. Another chemist, Wilhelm Lossen, continued his research and managed to get cocaine in its pure form.

Almost in those days, well-known experiments with cocaine were conducted by the young still Sigmund Freud. The Viennese neurologist still had to become the father of modern psychoanalysis.Freud put a handful of cocaine on his tongue and recorded that this place was losing its sensitivity. About his experiments with the substance Zygmund wrote in one of his works. But then the observations did not lead to practical conclusions. But they already then could have discovered cocaine for medicine.

This discovery was made already in 1879 by pharmacologist Vasily Anrep. This professor from St. Petersburg conducted a thorough study of cocaine, suggesting the use of a substance for local anesthesia. After 5 years, the properties of cocaine were studied by Viennese ophthalmologist Carl Koller. Information about the unusual abilities of the substance he received from Freud, because he already conducted experiments. Koller also decided to conduct research on himself. He moistened his mucous membranes in his mouth and eyes with a solution of cocaine. The conclusions were the same – these places lose sensitivity. Then the oculist realized that this solution can be used for anesthesia. The last and most important on the path of the conversion of cocaine into medicine was the work of the German surgeon Karl Schleich. In 1890, he made many experiments and was able to create a persistent anesthetic. Cocaine was added to a 0.05% solution of common table salt. This remedy was ready for use, it is important that it could be stored for a long time in vials.

When the means of general anesthesia and local anesthesia became firmly established in medicine, it was the end of the battle against human pain. And all the discoveries made later became only an improvement and a complement to these. Only now doctors are always embarrassed by the toxicity of cocaine. Therefore, an important step in the development of anesthesia was the receipt in 1905 of a Novocaine preparation. Alfred Einhorn was able to synthesize it. This remedy is 16 times safer than cocaine. It is not surprising that novocaine quickly received recognition from specialists. Moreover, his analgesic strength remained the same. Today, a descendant of cocaine, novocaine, can be found in any dentist’s office.

The most important medicines

Aspirin.

And in this case, people have long discovered the valuable qualities of willow bark. She well saves from a fever. These qualities are explained by the fact that the bark contains salts of salicylic acid. In its pure form, it was isolated in 1897 by the German chemist Felix Hoffman. It happened in the laboratory of the chemical company “Bayer”. Hoffman was looking for a remedy that would reduce pain in the joint of his father. And he introduced aspirin to the treatment of doctors Dr. Herman Dresser, who was friends with Hoffman. The new medicine quickly proved its effectiveness. Already on March 6, 1899 he was given a state patent numbered “36433”, in which the name “aspirin” was prescribed. To date, according to WHO statistics, aspirin and its analogs are the most popular drugs. Every year, more than 80 billion aspirin tablets are consumed in the world. This medicine has anti-inflammatory, antipyretic and analgesic effects.

The most important medicines

Vitamins.

At the end of the 19th century, the common view was that proteins, fats, carbohydrates, water and mineral salts give food their nutritional value. Decades have passed, and mankind has gained invaluable experience in long sea voyages. It turned out that even sufficient food supplies do not save sailors from scurvy and various infectious diseases. Answer to this riddle for a long time could not be found.

Only in 1880 Russian scientist Nikolai Lunin came to interesting conclusions. He studied how mineral substances are involved in nutrition. It turned out that mice, who ate artificial food from the constituent parts of milk (sugar, fat, salt and casein), quickly withered and died. And those rodents who received natural milk, continued to lead an active life. The scientist’s conclusion was logical – in milk there are certain substances that are needed for adequate nutrition.

After 16 years, the cause of the beriberi disease, found among the inhabitants of Korea, Japan and Indonesia, was found. They ate refined rice.And to solve the riddle beriberi accidentally was able to Dutch doctor Christian Eikman. He works in the prison hospital in Java and watched the local chicken. Those birds who were fed the refined grains were puffed up with something that looked like beriberi. But when the hens began to feed the unpeeled grain, then the disease quickly passed.

In 1911, the vitamin in crystalline form was isolated by the Polish physicist Kazimier Funk. For this, he used rice husks. A number of experiments have shown that a chicken disease can be avoided with the aid of a nitrogen-containing substance amine. It was called vitamin B1. A year later the scientist came up with a common name for such substances – vitamins. This word is made up of two Latin, meaning “life” and “nitrogen.”

To date, it is known about vitamins. Some of them are part of enzymes, like water-soluble vitamins of groups C, B, PP). Others are part of cell membranes, as carotene soluble in fats, vitamins A, D, E. But they are all important participants in human life. Vitamins help to overcome rickets, scurvy, hypovitaminosis. With their help, a variety of diseases are prevented. Vitamins help people recover from severe ailments and surgical operations.

The most important medicines

Salvarsan.

A century ago almost all drugs were created from those chemicals that could be found in nature. By and large, these were all the same folk remedies, simply cleaned and cataloged. And with the development of synthetic chemistry, it became possible to create new substances that would purposefully fight with cancer cells or pathogens of infectious diseases.

Austrian doctor Paul Erlich, together with Mechnikov, received the Nobel Prize for research on immunity. This doctor was also famous for finding a drug for the treatment of syphilis. Salvarsan was so effective that it spread rapidly around the world. So there was a first medicine specially created to treat a specific problem. Ehrlich dreamed that there would be funds that, like a magic bullet, would affect only specific pathogens. And for the body as a whole, such drugs will be harmless. The doctor was very patient, only the 606th synthesized substance was the one that saves from syphilis.

This was the first step on the path of chemotherapy. Today, people are increasingly being treated with drugs specifically designed to fight a particular disease. After salvarsana, mankind created thousands of new drugs based on these same principles. Now 9 out of 10 drugs located on drugstore shelves or used in hospitals have an artificial origin.

The most important medicines

Insulin.

Today about 10-15 million people have a disappointing diagnosis of “type 1 diabetes.” However, humanity has found a solution for them in the form of injections of insulin, they have to do all their life. If not for this medicine, then these people could not survive.

And it all began in 1920. Then the Canadian scientists physiologist Banting and the physician Best spent three months on getting insulin from a piece of pancreatic tissue of the dog. By the end of next year, the technology was improved. Now insulin was extracted from the hood of the pancreas of unborn calves. In January 1922, there was the first in the clinical practice of treatment with insulin. Almost a hopeless 14-year-old teenager, suffering from a severe form of diabetes, was saved.

Further testing of the new preparation led to the development of basic recommendations for its use and dosage. At the end of 1922, insulin already began to be sold on the market of medicines. The patent for this medicine was sold to the University of Toronto for only $ 1. Thanks to this, insulin was soon able to start producing in industrial volumes.

The discovery became so important that in 1923 Frederick Bunting and John McLeod, the owner of that laboratory, received the Nobel Prize.However, insulin brought another such award. In 1958, she received an Englishman Frederick Sanger for describing the sequence of amino acids of this drug. The hormone discovered by Bunting has become a powerful weapon in the fight against diabetes mellitus. This is a significant medicine for humanity, without a doubt, saved millions of lives. Until now, many diabetics can not live without insulin.

The most important medicines

Penicillin.

People have long learned that green mold can successfully withstand microbes. 500 years ago this remedy was used by doctors to treat pestilential wounds. The Italian doctor Gozio was engaged in the allocation of antibiotics for a long time. However, the results of his work at the end of the XIX century remained unknown. The discovery of penicillin occurred by chance. In 1929, Professor of Microbiology, University of London, Alexander Petrie after another experience forgot to wash the Petri dish. There remained an unnecessary bacterial culture.

A few days later the scientist saw a colony of green mold there and studied it. It turned out that she secretes a special antibiotic substance. When ingested, this causes a slowdown in bacterial growth. A new miracle cure was called Fleming penicillin. The name was directly related to the mold that produces the medicine. After all, it belongs to the fungi of the genus Penicillium. The scientist discovered that the substance he found fortunately had an effect on harmful microbes. And here for leukocytes and other cells penicillin is absolutely safe.

Fleming described his discovery in a scientific journal, and soon the scientist was able to isolate penicillin in its pure form. But then the matter got stalled, because it was not possible to single out a stable form of a substance that would be suitable for practical use. This problem was solved in 1940. A group of young scientists from Oxford under the guidance of Howard Flory and Ernst Cheney created penicillin in a stable form. For this in 1944, these scientists, together with Fleming, received a knightly dignity and the title of baron from the Queen of England. And next year the trio received the Nobel Prize for their discovery.

Antibiotics have become a real breakthrough in medicine. The first of these was penicillin. This discovery marked the beginning of a new era in the history of medicine. Today, pharmacologists have created dozens of new antibiotics that defeat many infections. In medicine, there is simply no alternative to such effective remedies.

The most important medicines

.

Issues of contraception have always been acute for humanity. It can be safely asserted that the world has changed insensibly for many when the first oral contraceptives appeared. And in this case, people have long ago learned about the ability of hormones to stop ovulation. As early as the mid-1920s, Austrian biologist Ludwig Haberlandt discovered that after taking an ovarian extract, rats no longer multiply.

In 1931, the scientist suggested using hormones for people, not allowing an unwanted pregnancy to take place. In just a year, pharmacists from Gedeon Richter prepared an extract called infekundine. However, the unexpected death of the Austrian pioneer, and the Second World War prevented the testing of the product.

When the world came, the scientists returned to these important studies. But it turned out that the infekundine created by the Austrians was quite expensive. In 1944, he was replaced by cheaper synthesized artificially progesterone. Based on these findings, in 10 years, American biologist Gregory Pincus created the first contraceptive pill. This project cost $ 3 million, which at that time was an impressive amount.

These miracle pills have been sold since 1960 under the name “Enovid.” For the first 4 years of sales, the drug has brought $ 24 million, but the creators of the funds no profit. To date, oral contraceptives have solved the problem of unwanted pregnancy.As a result, the death rate among infants and the number of gynecological diseases decreased significantly. It can be safely asserted that humanity has entered a new era – the desired children.

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