Ultimately, we should not talk about “chemical” and “organic” drugs but about two types of chemistry. The human body is a huge (in complexity and multiplicity of chemical production) chemical plant. Everything in it has its chemical formula. Life is a constant intensive chemical process. Therefore, it is more correct to divide all chemical drugs obtained (isolated, extracted) from plants and animals and synthesized. Both of these types of medicine, like our food or like ourselves are “chemistry.”
Misconceptions about Organic Drugs
What medicines are safer for the body of a child and an adult: synthetic or obtained in a “natural” way?
The correct answer is that both synthetic and organic (natural) medicines can be dangerous for the body. However, in reality, they are harmful if they are misapplied, and, especially, in the case of self-treatment. In this regard, and not through the fault of the plants but because of human ignorance, herbal preparations are especially dangerous because of the real illusion of their safety.
Why does the myth about the harmlessness of “natural” drugs continue to exist?
It is well known and indisputable that cotton is better than synthetic fabrics, and wooden furniture and wall cladding are safer than synthetic adhesives and plastic. In ordinary human consciousness, the word “chemistry” is associated with household chemicals. We all know about the harmfulness and toxicity of household chemicals in the event of their ingestion. We confuse the harmfulness of household chemicals with the concept of synthetic drugs in our mind. On the other hand, only specialists know that the most potent poisons are not sulfuric acid or a rusting agent, but numerous animal and vegetable venoms.
Whatever the cause of the myth about the harmlessness of natural medicines, it continues to exist for three main reasons:
The inertia of human consciousness. If any conviction that is not associated with our professional activity (where we are more prone to critical rethinking) is stuck in our head, it is for a long time.
The role of the media. A journalist should know everything about everything by the nature of this profession. Naturally, such knowledge can only be superficial. Changing your “strong beliefs” in such cases is very tiring. Besides, those whose mistakes coincide with the readers’ ones are most successful in journalism.
The skillful use of already existing myths and delusions by the developers of advertising for various questionable drugs.
The same goes for vitamins. Contrary to popular belief about their naturalness, all the vitamins (both in the composition of multivitamins and in the remaining food additives) are obtained synthetically with rare exceptions — for example, fish oil with vitamin A.
Allergies in Chemical and Organic Drugs
The possibility and frequency of allergies firstly depend on the chemical structure of the product causing the allergy. The more massive and more complex the formula of a substance is the more chemical groups and chains it contains that are capable of entering into an allergic reaction. Therefore, the most potent allergens are proteins found in animal and herbal products and medicines derived from them.
Among synthetic drugs, those with their chemical formula that repeat the structure of natural substances have the most magnificent allergic properties. An example is antibiotics. The first antibiotics were natural medicines derived from mold. All subsequent are synthetic copies of original, natural substances. That is why of all the synthetic drugs, the most allergenic are antibiotics.
Secondly, the probability of an allergy is higher when a person frequently contacts with the substance (allergen) in life. That is why when carrying out prophylactic vaccinations; allergic reactions are more pronounced on subsequent injections than on the first one. However, the frequency of allergic reactions to vaccinations has become much less since the beginning of the replacement of more natural vaccines with more “synthetic” ones.
As for synthetic drugs, a person does not encounter them in nature. “Natural” medicines may contain chemical fragments that are the same as those containing food products, plant pollen, etc. Thus, the probability of an allergy when using natural drugs is at least, and sometimes even higher, compared to chemical ones.
The Concept of Medical Chemistry
Medical chemistry is one of the scientific disciplines that includes the basic principles of pharmacy, biology, and medicine. The main task of this science is the identification, detection, development, and production of biologically active compounds with the subsequent study of their metabolism at the molecular level and the creation of the structure-activity relationship. It is worth saying that medical and pharmaceutical chemistry are inextricably linked, jointly generating and using new sources of drug discovery.
Note that the drugs are divided into two broad groups:
• inorganic chemistry;
• organic chemistry.
All medicinal substances extracted from natural and artificial raw material. The primary resources for the extraction of inorganic materials are:
• lake and seawater;
• chemical production wastes.
Resources for the synthesis of organic drugs:
• natural gas;
• wood and shale.
Oil products are valuable raw material for the synthesis of hydrocarbons, which are the main types of intermediate products for the production of high-grade drugs from organic substances. Petroleum extracts petrolatum, paraffin, and liquid paraffin, which are widely used in various medical practices.
Hormone-based drugs are made from animal sources (tissues and internal organs of animals). For the manufacture of antibiotics, people use various live microorganisms. Particularly noteworthy are semi-synthetic antibiotics, which are artificial secondary materials for manufactured medicines that are separated from microorganisms (for example, penicillins). People also apply a semi-synthetic method for obtaining other categories of drugs: alkaloids, vitamins, hormones.
Since the most ancient human civilizations, medicines have been a meaningful way to maintain health and cure diseases. From coughing to polio, people have found many ways to deal with a wide range of conditions. Although we have made progress on this issue, we also have a long way to go. Cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and many autoimmune diseases are still serious problems. However, there are significant achievements in medicine, including organic drugs. Here are the 7 most essential organic medications in history.
Penicillin has become one of the most significant advances in medicine, paving the way for other antibiotics. It has proven its effectiveness in combating some dangerous and harmful infections, for example, streptococcal and staphylococcal.
Humira, also known as Adalimumab, is used in the treatment of some diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and skin diseases. It works by blocking a protein in the body’s immune system that causes swelling of the joints.
A natural drug made from digitalis is a necessary medicine used to treat heart failure. Due to its side effects, it is no longer used, but it was a breakthrough among these kinds of drugs.
Before insulin was used to treat diabetes, patients with type 1 diabetes had to follow an extreme diet, and their lifespan was limited to months. Since the discovery of insulin, diabetic patients have been able to live longer.
Aspirin is a painkiller, a remedy for the prevention of heart attacks and anticancer drugs. Believe it or not, it was used long before the clinical trials. Both the ancient Egyptians and the Greeks knew about the existence of some plants containing salicylic acid (the main ingredient of aspirin), which helped to cope with fever and pain.
People with high cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood are at greater risk of developing a heart attack or stroke. Fortunately, Lipitor is a medicine that helps to lower the level of bad cholesterol and increase the level of good cholesterol, which reduces the risk of heart attack.
Lasix, also known as Furosemide, is on the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines and is used to treat patients with high blood pressure, heart failure, liver, and kidney diseases.
Safety Measures When Using Organic Drugs
1. Do not buy or take herbal medicines without a doctor’s prescription. Self-medication with natural, organic drugs is just as dangerous as with the chemical ones.
2. Medications should be bought only in regular pharmacies. Drugs sold in some individual pharmacies may contain different amounts of the active substance. Therefore, the same dose of such a drug from different places can act in different ways.
3. Storage conditions for organic drugs must be observed no less strictly than synthetic ones. Various substances quickly lose their “strength” when standing in the light or the dark, or at high temperatures. Besides, after opening the packaging, the “strength” of some drugs, on the contrary, may increase due to drying out because of evaporation of spirit, for instance.
The development of new drugs, including the organic ones, has already become an essential part of pharmacology. Shortly, drug development will become an exact science, allowing not only to defeat many currently incurable diseases but also to fulfill the long-standing dream of a “golden pill” — a medicine that effectively eliminates the cause of the disease with minimal side effects.