Chemistry plays an essential role in the field of medicine.
Most of the drugs used for treatment, cure, prevention of a disease or disorder made of some chemical.
Chemistry is important in aspects of daily life of medical professionals as it is involved in the principles of sterilization, sanitation, diagnosis, drug and also disease.
It helps them to give proper medical support for the patients without any errors.
But below we will see the role of chemistry in the medical field in points.
Importance of chemistry in medicine
- In knowing the actual composition of drug
- Understanding the chemical nature of the drug.
- In predicting the drug interactions
- In sterilization and sanitation.
- In the diagnosis of a disease.
- To regulate the distribution of medicine.
- Decrease the toxic effect of the drug and enhance tolerability.
- To discover more new drugs or improve the potency
- To study the mechanism of disease.
- To know how the drug acts.
In knowing the actual composition of drug: When you see a label on the package of tablets or other medicines, you will notice few ingredient besides the active drug constituent. Knowledge of chemistry helps the medical personnel to know what is the role of that composition and how the drug should be given or how it acts.
Understanding the chemical nature of the drug:
Medicines we use have many chemical properties like acidic, alkaline, oil soluble, water soluble, polarity, etc.
Knowledge of chemistry will help the doctor to guess how the drug is going to act. For example, an acidic drug will be better absorbed in the stomach while the alkaline drugs are well absorbed in the intestine. Also, a lipophilic drug has faster distribution into the brain and deeper tissues than a hydrophilic one. So a doctor can have an idea of how the drug is going to work in the body based on its chemical nature.
In predicting the drug interactions:
Most of the time multiple drugs are given to a person as part of treatment. Knowledge of chemistry of the medicine would help the pharmacist to predict if it can lead to any drug interactions. For example, in case of a gastric ulcer, a doctor may prescribe an antacid like calcium hydroxide and also an antibiotic like tetracycline. In this case, tetracycline will form a complex with calcium and does not show its therapeutic effects.
In sterilization and sanitation:
Many chemicals like alcohol, phenol, acids, aldehydes are used for used for sterilization and disinfection. Knowledge of chemistry helps to know how the substance possibly kills the microbes. Hence the personnel can decide which type of sterilization agent can be used for different purposes.
In the diagnosis of disease: Many diseases or disorders are easily diagnosed by simple biochemical tests. For example blood glucose levels, blood cholesterol levels can be quickly diagnosed by using these chemical tests. Also, they are less expensive than other methods. For example, glucose oxidase method is used for blood glucose estimation.
To regulate the distribution of medicine: The absorption, distribution, and excretion of the drug can be controlled by altering the chemistry of the body. For example, if a person has taken a high dose of salicylates or acidic other medicines, their excretion can be enhanced by making the blood alkaline by administering sodium bicarbonate.
Decrease the toxic effect of the drug and enhance tolerability: The drug structure is studied as a part of medicinal chemistry. In doing so, the main functional groups responsible for therapeutic effects and toxic property are ascertained. By modifying those functional groups, the toxic effect of the drug can be minimized.
To discover more new drugs or improve the potency: By taking the chemical structure of lead drugs, they can be further explored by changes in structure for new medicines.
To study the mechanism of disease: Most diseases can be explained by some changes in chemistry in the body. For example enhanced hydrochloric acid secretion in gastric acidity, improved iron levels in anemia, etc. This helps us to know the actual mechanism of disease and thereby treating it.
To know how the drug acts: Drugs act by a specific mechanism to bring about a cure. This can be studied and also explained well by chemistry.