Vol - vi__pp - i to iv.p65
The Journal of Department of Applied Sciences & HumanitiesVol. VI, (2007), pp. 23-25Institute of Technology and Managementhttp://www.itmindia.edu
Chemistry of Medicines
Medicines (Drugs) are chemicals
Dr. Jyoti Sinha
In technical terms all medicines are referred as drugs. Adding
M.Pharma, BIT Mesra, Ranchi, Ph.D.
chemicals to the body might sound strange - but the human body is
(Medicinal Chemistry), B.I.T.S Pilani
made up completely of chemicals. Some of the chemicals in the body
are simple and others are a lot more complicated, but they all work
together to make our bodies function. Everything we do depends on
these chemicals carrying out their jobs correctly e.g….
was working as research scientistat Xepa Soul Pattinson Sdn.
Sometimes a part of the body can't make enough of a certain chemical,
and it can make a person sick. Someone who has insulin-dependent
diabetes, for example, has an organ (called the pancreas) that can't make
enough of a certain chemical in order to keep her healthy. Other times
a person's body might make too much of a certain chemical, and that
from 1993-1998. She has around12 years of teaching and
can make someone sick, too e.g Paracetamol is a popular and common
analgesic and antipyretic drug used for relieving fever, headaches, and
other minor aches and pains. It is a chemical called N-(4-
fellow at BIT Mesra from 1991-1993. She has also publishedseveral research papers in theInternational journals andcompleted two sponsoredprojects.
One medicine might be a hot-pink liquid, another medicine might comein a special mist, another might be in a pill, and still another mightcome out of a tube, but they are all chemicals. Some chemicals thatare used to make medicines come from things in nature, like plants oranimals. Most medicines today are created by scientists in laboratories,
and the medicines are usually based on chemicals found in nature. After a medicine is created, it is testedover and over in many different ways. This allows scientists to make sure that the medicine is safe forpeople to take, and that the medicine successfully fights or prevents a specific illness. In fact, a lot of newmedicines are improvements on old medicines, to help people feel better more quickly e.g.
How do medicines work?
In general, medicines work by:
Replacing substances that are deficient or missing in the body,
Destroying infectious micro-organisms or abnormal cells
Replacing substances that are deficient or missing in the body
The body needs certain levels of proteins (or amino acids), vitamins and minerals in order to work normally.
If these important substances are insufficient or lacking, this can lead to medical disorders. These are called
‘deficiency disorders’. Examples include: iron deficiency (anaemia), and vitamin C deficiency (scurvy).
Deficiency disorders can also occur as a result of a lack of hormones in the body (hormone deficiencies).
Common examples include: diabetes (insulin deficiency) and hypothyroidism (thyroid hormone deficiency).
Deficiency disorders can be treated with medicines or hormones that replace or restore the levels of themissing substances, for example insulin injections for diabetics.
Altering the activity of cells
Cells are the basic 'building blocks' of the body. All human tissue is made up of groups of cells. Many
medicines work by altering the activity of cells. For example, anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen
and diclofenac block the action or stop the production of chemical substances (mediators) which are released
by cells in response to tissue damage and which cause inflammation and pain.
Medicines which interfere with the way cells work are used to treat a variety of conditions, such as bloodclotting disorders (eg. anti-coagulants), heart (eg. calcium channel blockers) and kidney diseases.
Some medicines work by attaching themselves (binding) to sites found on the surface of cells (receptors)and either increase or decrease the activity of the cell (eg. medicines used in the treatment of epilepsy andParkinson's disease).
Destroying infectious microorganisms or abnormal cells
Infectious diseases occur when viruses, bacteria, protozoa or fungi invade the body. Antibiotics e.g. penicillin
can destroy bacteria by killing them directly or by preventing them multiplying. Anti-fungals commonly
used for infections of the skin and mouth (eg. clotrimazole and miconazole) work by disrupting infected
cells. Other medicines work by killing abnormal cells, for example some anti-cancer drugs directly target
and kill harmful cancer cell.
Drug-drug interactions occur when two or more drugs react with each other. This drug-drug interactionmay cause you to experience an unexpected side effect. For example, mixing a drug you take tohelp you sleep (a sedative) and a drug you take for allergies (an antihistamine) can slow your reactionsand make driving a car or operating machinery dangerous.
Drug-food/beverage interactions result from drugs reacting with foods or beverages. For example,mixing alcohol with some drugs may cause you to feel tired or slow your reactions.
Drug-condition interactions may occur when an existing medical condition makes certain drugspotentially harmful. For example, if you have high blood pressure you could experience an unwantedreaction if you take a nasal decongestant
Banned medicines but still used in India
Reason for ban
Mind your medicine
So medicines sound like a pretty good thing. In many cases they are - as long as they are used correctly.
Too much of a medicine can be harmful, and old or outdated medicines can make people sick. Taking the
wrong medicine or medicine prescribed for someone else is also very bad news. Always
follow your doctor's
instructions for taking medicine - especially for how long.
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