1)Role of medicines

While we are healthy, we forget the existence of medicines.
But when we suffer from head pain and/or stomach pain, or are injured, it reminds us of the existence of medicines.
We consider taking medicines when we know that our families and we are not in good condition. And when we recover from illness and from injury after taking medicines prescribed by a doctor and/or a pharmacist, we fell very happy.
As described above, medicines are things to be relied in case of emergency.

2)History of medicines

Many people in the world have been making great efforts to find out medicines.
They tried to use plant roots, tree cortexes, flowers, fruits and minerals, which were collected in mountains as medicines. And also bones and/or horns of animals were used.
I would like to introduce you some examples. Datura metel (Tyousenasagao in Japanese), which flowers are pretty white, includes alkaloid that can induce numbness of leaves. Mr. Hanaoka, who lived in Tokugawa period, tried to use it as anesthesia to operate a women suffering from breast cancer for the first time in the world.

When watching a period drama, we sometimes see that a daughter makes great effort to buy Korean Ginseng for a sickly mother. Now we know that Korean Ginseng has activity to improve weakened body. It is sometimes used to improve weakened body derived from blood cancer. In the States, they have been doing the research about Korean Ginseng to cure atopic dermatitis, which is contemporary disease.

Iron is utilized to treat people suffering from anemia through cooking with an iron pan. Gold is used to cure persons suffering from hardening of joint caused by rheumatism. Arsenic, which became notorious when poisonous curried rice happening occurred, was used not only as an agricultural chemical but also as medicines for a syphilitic person.

Since penicillin was discovered from green fungi grown in bread in England, we have succeeded in curing many diseases caused by bacteria, which we had failed to treat such kinds of diseases before. Streptomycin was developed 15 years later since penicillin was discovered (in the middle of World War II), and this finding could save life of people, as Streptomycin was very effective to tuberculosis, which was fearful disease because it deprived of life of many young adults at that time.

A lot of medicines that can prevent growth of bacteria causing diseases have been developed one after another since the discovery of penicillin. Japanese researchers highly contributed to explore these types of medicines. We have named these medicines as antibiotics. You know in 1996 a kind of bacteria named O-157 causing food poisoning became notorious. If we had not had antibiotics, this bacterium might have deprived of life of many people and might have induced big panic.

3)Side effect of medicine

When you know what I am writing here, you may think that medicines always give us good effect. But unfortunately this is not right. We human beings are controlled by homeostasis, which is the maintenance system of equilibrium, or constant conditions, in a biological system by means of automatic mechanisms that counteract influences tending toward disequilibrium. When we are beyond this automatic mechanism, we need medicines. When we are restored to health through taking medicines, we believe we recovered from illness perfectly. But the effect of taking medicines varies depending on persons even if we take the same amount of medicines, as we all are not in the same condition. Even though the amount of taking medicines is appropriate to someone, the amount may be inappropriate to others, and taking medicines may cause nodding, stomach trouble and diarrhea. This superfluous effect is called side effect (undesired effect).

But "the side effect of medicines" includes a different meaning. A kind of medicine has not only one effect but some effects. Asprin, which is used when we are feverish and get headache, has activities of relieving pain, alleviating fever, preventing blood congeal and so on. When we use aspirin to relieve pain, the activities of alleviating fever and preventing blood congeals are considered side effects. There is the report saying when aspirin is used to relieve pain for a child, his or her temperature went down below the normal temperature. Aspirin is also prescribed to prevent myocardial infarction, using the activity of preventing blood congeals when a patient was recovered from Kawasaki-sickness. In this case, the activities of alleviating fever and relieving pain are considered side effects.

4)Interaction of medicines

When we get ill, we may sometimes use some kinds of medicines, although it is better for us to use only one kind of medicine for medical treatment. Once a medicine gets into a body, it is delivered to the liver. In this liver a medicine structure is modified to exhibit the activity. And then it gets into blood and is circulated to the whole body. In a liver "enzyme" is acting to modify a medicine. When we take some medicines, it become more competitive to use enzymes for modification. In that case we may encounter side effect more than the expectation owing to superfluous effects.

Someone experienced this medicine was effective when he/she took one kind of medicine. But he/she also experienced that medicines were not so effective, and that his/her illness got worse when he/she took some kinds of medicines. We call these phenomena as interaction of medicines.

On the other hand, we can treat illness with more than two kinds of medicines by use of this interaction, if we cannot cure sick using only one kind of medicines. In case you have to go to some hospitals and to take some kinds of medicines simultaneously, please surely contact a doctor or a pharmacist to get information to prevent you from obtaining unexpected effects.

5)Drug dependence (Medical poisoning)

Have you ever heard the word "thinner poisoning"?

Have you experienced to get headache when you enter a room painted newly? Paint includes thinner. When we smell thinner for the first time, many people don't think this is good smell. But after used to smell many times, someone comes to see and listen in vision what they are not actually seeing and listening. And then they cannot forget this experience and stop smelling thinner. We call this phenomenon drug dependence (medical poisoning). Especially some people are easily addicted to narcotics and stimulants.

The issues concerning narcotics and stimulants become socially serious in Europe and South America. Many young adults tend to spoil their life increasingly by narcotics and so on.

There are many examples caused by crimes for getting drugs and disruption of a family owing to drug addiction. We Japanese should know the fear of drug dependence that may cause the corruption of personality because of the limits of self-control, and the curative limits in facilities for treatment.

Even though remedy is started for treatment of drug dependence, we know some examples like it takes several years to get well again completely owing to withdrawal symptoms and agony caused by strong uneasiness.

And also in Europe there are not a few people who are infected with HIV through injection of narcotics and stimulants using a syringe that was circulated among many people, and as the result they were to lose their life. Taking narcotics and stimulants cause to let them lose their personality, and narcotics and stimulants become menace not only to family but to society.

The issues of drug dependence are not others' matters. Even in Japan these matters are said to expand latently to lower age of generations.

Never try narcotics and stimulants even though you think you want to try once for the use aimed chiefly at amusing. If you tray one, you must be addicted and must be serious.


Could you understand that medicines have not only expected effects but unexpected ones through what I am saying here?

We would like to use medicines safely, which are gifts from our predecessors as a result of the past trials and errors. If you don't know about medicines or want to know more, please contact a doctor and/or a pharmacist. It is risk for you to use medicines based on ambiguous judgment. Taking medicines for the use aimed chiefly at amusing leads to trample on efforts of predecessors.

Although scientific technology has been advanced, there are still diseases that we cannot treat. As I told you before, we may be able to find out new pharmaceuticals if we pay attention to daily matters from the standpoint of science. Can you imagine how we are now living in the wonderful world compared with the times without remedies?