Think about it: there was a time at which medicinal drugs were not yet invented. If a person contracted a deadly disease, that person typically had to accept the inevitable.
Fortunately, as time has passed, medical researchers and scientists have made huge technological strides. This has resulted in the creation of a variety of useful drugs.
Some of these drugs have had a huge impact, influencing the world at large on an everyday basis. In fact, we think it’s fair to call these drugs miracle meds.
Curious as to what these drugs are? Here are 7 interesting drugs that changed the world.
Discovered in London in 1928 by Dr. Alexander Fleming, penicillin was one of the first antibiotics ever conceived. The antibiotic was something of an accident, growing in Petri dishes filled with the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus while Fleming was away on vacation.
After some observation and experimentation, Fleming realized that penicillin was fighting off bacterial growth. From this observation, he surmised that penicillin might also be able to fight off the bacteria present in infections.
Of course, Fleming was right. Penicillin has gone on to be one of the most commonly used medicines in the world, treating everything from scarlet fever, to tract infections, to throat infections, to ear infections, and much, much more.
The fact of the matter is that our world would be much a much scarier place if it weren’t Fleming’s extraordinary discovery.
For thousands of years, pure salicylic acid was used as a pain reliever. A variety of ancient civilizations used the substance, including the Egyptians and the Greeks. However, it wasn’t until 1899 that it would become a legitimate medication.
What was this medication called? Aspirin!
Concocted by the Bayer company at the turn of the 19th century, aspirin was something entirely new to the medical community: a quick and easy medication that could be ingested to relieve mild pain.
Aspirin has lost some of its popularity due to the invention of other minor pain relief drugs such as ibuprofen, but there’s no getting past the fact that it was the first of its kind.
It’s an absolute medical icon.
In the 1980s, the AIDS crisis began in the United States, establishing a period of grief, fear, and tragedy that would leave hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children dead. The disease was extremely fatal, and, unfortunately, had no cure or treatment.
That is until scientists perfected AZT.
AZT, or Zidovudine, was first developed in the 1960’s as a combatant against cancer. Unfortunately, doctors found that it had little effect on those suffering from the disease. What doctors did find, however, was that AZT could successfully combat a virus known as the Friend virus.
Years later, when the AIDs epidemic swept through the world, researchers found that it was accompanied by the Friend virus. At this point, doctors started to use AZT to treat the disease.
By 1987, the FDA had approved AZT as a legitimate way to combat AIDS. It took only 25 months for the FDA to approve it as such.
4. Birth Control
For hundreds of years, condoms were the only form of birth control available to the public. That all changed in 1960 when the FDA approved the first ever birth control pill.
Known as Enovid, this birth control pill was initially heavily regulated by the United States government. In fact, until 1972, it was deemed illegal for married couples to use the contraceptive. It was in that year that the US Supreme Court made it legal for any and all to make use of the pill.
These days, hormonal birth control comes in many forms: pills, IUDs, shots, and more. However, all forms of birth control are suited solely for female consumption. While researchers are currently studying male birth control, it is not yet approved.
While birth control was once considered a social taboo, it’s now entirely normalized. You can even find it on a pharmacy online.
These days, psychiatric drugs are widespread. Psychiatrists prescribe them like candy, and patients are typically more than happy to take them. However, it was not always this way.
In fact, it wasn’t until the 1950’s that the first major psychiatric drug was released to the public.
The name of this drug? Chlorpromazine.
A tranquilizer, chlorpromazine became immensely popular after it released, being used by over fifty million people by 1964. Used to treat anxiety, it was the precursor to all modern anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medications.
Cancer has been a problem for as long as humans have roamed this earth. While we still have no cure for cancer, we do have treatments for cancer.
Unfortunately, once upon a time, there was little doctors could do to treat the disease. That was until mechlorethamine was approved by the FDA as a cancer treatment in 1949.
Originally used to make mustard gas for chemical warfare, the drug was found to be combative with human lymphomas. For this reason, it became the first cancer drug ever approved by the FDA.
Insulin was initially discovered by a Romanian physiologist named Nicolas Paulescu. However, because he was forced to fight in World War I, he was never able to formally reveal his discovery. Instead, Canadian researchers Frederick Banting and Charles Best were the ones to do it first.
The discovery turned out to be substantial, as insulin is key to controlling the blood sugar levels in diabetics. In fact, it’s so important to the treatment of diabetes that many diabetics might consider it to be the best medicine in the world.
Before the discovery of insulin, many diabetics died young. With insulin at their disposal, diabetics can live to ripe, old ages.
Learn About Other Interesting Drugs
Have any of the above-reviewed drugs had an impact on your life? Looking to learn about other interesting drugs? If so, you’re in the right place. Humble Musings has you covered.
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