7 drugs that changed the world

For thousands of years, people have swallowed the elixir, smelt vapors, and applied ointments in an attempt to heal. But only a few drugs have managed to fundamentally change medicine.

Here are seven of these treatments along with some interesting things that will surprise you.

1. Paulescu’s pancreas?

Discovery of insulin has undoubtedly been a major medical event. Before being discovered, those who suffered from diabetes often died young.

Canadian scientists Frederick G. Banting and Charles H. Best and their colleagues are often considered to have discovered and isolated the substance.

drugs and medicines

An illustration depicts Canadians Frederick G. Banting and Charles H. Best in the lab testing insulin on a diabetic dog. 1921

But the Romanian physiologist Nicolae Paulescu took it forward . Paulescu isolated a substance called “pancreine”, perhaps insulin, in 1916, but soon he was recruited to fight in World War I.

He published his discoveries in 1921, but they were overshadowed by the Canadians report published early next year.

2. Bayer: Take two and call us in the morning!

In 1889, Farbenfabriken introduced aspirin, an analgesic that would be among the most used medicines in the world. The company says the synthesis of pure acetylsalicylic acid, the active ingredient of aspirin, was made by Bayer chemist Felix Hoffman.

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One of the first Bayer bottles, sold in powder form

But several decades after the introduction of aspirin, another Bayer chemist, Arthur Eichengrun, argued that he had invented the compound’s synthesis process and that Hoffman had only performed the procedure. Bayer continues to argue that Hoffman invented the substance.

These drugs and drugs have had a revolutionary impact.

3. Let everyone stay calm!

The introduction of the tranchilizer “chlorpromazine” (also known as “thorazine”) in the 1950s was a turning point in psychiatry, which led to the “psychopharmacological revolution”.

drugs and medicines

Drugs and Medicines: Diazepam (also known as Valium) is a drug commonly used to relieve symptoms of depression

Chlorprosamine was successful (by 1964, about 50 million people had taken this medicine) and its discovery was the basis for the subsequent development of agents used to treat anxiety and depression.

Moreover, the peculiarities of its effects on neurotransmitters and receptors have given insights into how brain impulses pass from one neuron to another, which has led to a better understanding of mental illness and cognition.

4. From the chemical war to cancer

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The cells of a Burkitt lymphoma

Warlike intentions have also led to the development of drugs and drugs. The nitrogen mustard gas was developed in the 1920s and 1930s as chemical warfare agents.

In the 1940s it became obvious that one of these compounds, HN-2, also known as “mecloretamine”, was more effective in fighting cancer, more precisely against human lymphomas, than in the struggles between the Axis and the Allies.

In 1949, mecloretamine became the first drug approved by the US Drug and Food Administration to treat cancer.

5. So retro! antiretrovirals

In 1987, the US authorities approved “zidovudine”, better known as “AZT”, a revolutionary treatment for treating HIV / AIDS. Even if it did not cure the disease, the drug prolonged the lives of AIDS patients.

It was the first drug of its kind to become essential for treating AIDS. Due to these drugs (and access to them throughout the world), the number of AIDS-related deaths declined at the beginning of the 21st century.

6. Drugs and drugs for population control

drugs and medicines

Drugs and medications: Oral contraceptives. A contraceptive foil for 28 days

Contraceptives are among the most commonly used drugs. In the early 1920s, Austrian scientist Ludwig Haberlandt published a paper suggesting that hormones could be used as contraceptives for animals.

Although it is not known for sure, he may have had hormonal testing, despite the criticism of his colleagues, who considered contraception a taboo subject. Haberlnadt’s work ended with his suicide in 1932.

Two decades have passed to other hormonal contraceptive tests carried out at the pressure of social activist Margaret Sanger. The first contraceptive pill was approved in 1960 in the US.

7. A contaminant that saves lives

drugs and medicines

Penicillium notatum, from which penicillin is extracted

In 1928, Scottish bacteriologist Alexander Fleming was in the process of sterilizing bacterial cultures contaminated with mold when he discovered some free areas around the mold colonies.

The bacteria-killer toxin proved to be penicillin, which Australian pathologist William Howard Florey and the British biochemist Erns Boris Chain successfully isolated her later and purified it by obtaining the antibiotic that saved most lives in the world whole.

And the other discovery of Fleming was also due to contamination. He discovered the antiseptic enzyme “lysozyme” in 1921, after accidentally contaminating a pot containing bacterial cultures with its own germs, resulting from a cold.

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