Health - Treatments
By: - at June 17, 2013

Medicines That Have Changed the World

Overview of Advances in Medicine
Medicine TypesIt is impossible to imagine the world without diseases and tailored made medications used to combat them effectively. In today’s modern world, many medicines are able to prevent and cure serious illnesses. Hundreds of thousands of medicines are available in the market today to cure and prevent various types of illnesses. Unlike the period of patent medicines, where marketing zeal and gimmicks coupled with the hope of the placebo effect acting as cure-all, modern medicine actually cures conditions and saves lives. The discoveries of these medicines have saved hundreds of millions of people and paved the way for further research and innovation of other drugs that continue to change the world.

Medicines That Have Changed the World
There are hundreds of thousands of medicines available in the market nowadays but only a few of them have left lasting impact on us by saving us from serious bacterial infections, communicative diseases and hormonal diseases. We will discuss some of the greatest medicines discovered ever that have left a lasting impact on our lives, changed the world, and continue to change the world we live in today.

Medical InsulinInsulin is a protein hormone in human bodies that balances blood sugar levels by lowering the blood sugar in the human body. Dysfunctional insulin production leads to diabetes, and patients suffering from advanced diabetes do not have enough of this hormone to regulate their blood sugar levels. Diabetes was a feared illness before the discovery and development of the insulin hormone that led to the effective treatment of a once life-threatening condition. Today, diabetes patients can live relatively normal lives with the help of insulin regulation therapy. Insulin continues to save lives and has opened the door to developments of other hormonal therapies based on the research used in the innovation of diabetes treatments.

Smallpox Vaccine
It is one of the most prominent discoveries in the history of the drug industry. Smallpox has been claiming the lives of humans for more than 12,000 years. This preventive vaccine not only paved the way for encouragements and further innovations but also wiped out small pox from our planet. Smallpox claimed between 300 and 500 million souls during the 20th century alone. In 1976, Edward Jenner developed this vaccine using cowpox material and helped to eradicate this extremely dangerous infectious disease from the planet. Polio vaccine is another wonder that helped keep this debilitating killer from crippling any more people.

AspirinEver since it was discovered, aspirin has had huge impact on the general health of humanity. It was mainly used to treat headaches and minor pains as a minor pain reliever. But it can be used to counteract the effects of other diseases such as heart diseases, stroke, infertility, and Alzheimer’s. Today, aspirin is one of the main ingredients in many pain relief remedies and some cold/cough medicines. Aspirin is also used to prevent certain types of cancer, lower blood pressure and as a first response treatment for heart attacks.

It is widely regarded as the biggest discovery in the health care and pharmaceutical industry. Before penicillin was discovered many soldiers died on the battle field not because they were shot or injured, but because that wound before the early 1900s most likely led to an infectious, painful death many days later. Alexander Fleming made this ground-breaking breakthrough in the pharmaceutical field in 1928, making the first antibiotic drug somewhat as the result of a mistake. To read more about penicillin and other inventions that were discovered accidentally, click here. Penicillin is called the grandfather of all medicines and helps to save lives by combating bacterial infections in the body. It led to the further developments and innovations of more antibiotics and other drugs that saved millions of people. Today, penicillin and other antibiotics are used to treat plethora and bacterial illnesses ranging from strep throat to cellulitis.

It was first discovered in Germany and used to relieve pain during and after surgery, treating alcoholism, and for opiate dependence. However, doctors discovered that this strong drug was more addictive than traditional opiates like heroin. Patients were finding themselves hooked to the morphine and in most cases finding themselves more addicted than they were to their drug of choice. Patients were essentially trading one addiction for another. Today, it is used as a pain management drug as a synthetically derived opiate and its cousins include percocet and oxycontin; two of the most popular pain killers of all time.

Radiation and Chemotherapy
Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases today, but the discoveries of medicines like radiation and chemotherapy to treat various types of cancers have prolonged lives and given many suffering patients some hope of recovery.

In fact, hundreds of millions of people alive today would have died if these medicines or drugs were available. Some other medicines that have changed the world include:

  • Birth Control Pills:
    Birth Control Pills

    Ether – Renowned as a surgical innovation, prior to its discovery and use patients had to be drugged to the point of passing out with alcohol and/or opium. Patients still had to go through most of the trauma associated with surgeries which led to lower survival rates and longer recovery times. *

  • Birth Control Pills – After more than fifty years in use, the pill is one of the most common forms of contraception with more than 80 percent of woman over 45 claiming to have used it at one point or another. *
  • Viagra – Initially engineered to be a heart medication, its arousing side effect changed the packaging strategy of the drug's developer to market it as the first FDA approved drug for erectile dysfunction.

Final Words
The impact of these modern medicines on global health has been very powerful. The medicines discussed above opened the door to further discoveries of thousands of other essential drugs. Improvements in diet, lifestyle, health care and medicine have extended our life expectancy dramatically over the last 100 years. Thanks to innovation and drug formulation, many disease and infection related deaths are now a thing of the past.





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