Questions tagged [pharmacology]

Pharmacology is the study of the interactions that occur between a living organism and chemicals that affect normal or abnormal biochemical function.

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What is the benefit of fever during infections?

When people get sick, they often develop a fever. What is the effect of an increased body temperature on viruses and bacteria in the body? Is it beneficial to the infected body? Importantly, often ...
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Why Does Salt Water Help Sore Throats?

I am having some trouble understanding how salt water, a simple solution, could so effectively remove the pains of a sore throat. I do believe that the answer is closely related to hypo/hyper-tonic ...
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How does laughing gas (N₂O) work?

Laughing gas (N2O), well, makes people laugh. How does just a gas make us do that, there has to be some hormones at work... So, I wanted to know how this works? What is the mechanism?
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Why do animal cells "mistake" rubidium ions for potassium ions?

So, I was browsing the Wikipedia article for rubidium, and came across this interesting tidbit: Rubidium is not a known nutrient for any living organisms. However, rubidium ions have the same charge ...
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Are drugs made bitter artificially to prevent being mistaken for candy?

All drugs I remember tasting (with the notable exception of Aspirin) have bitter taste. Is the taste due to the active substance, or is a bittering agent added to them, perhaps to prevent overdose? ...
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If a human takes antibiotics are all bacteria in the body killed?

From my basic understanding, antibiotics kill living things, bacteria for example. Do the antibiotics consumed by a human-being distinguish between what they kill? Or do they just kill every bacteria ...
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Why do vaccines cause your arm to hurt?

When you get a shot for a vaccine (for example, the annual flu vaccine), the nurse frequently indicates that your arm will ache for a day or two, maybe more. This ache is typically not just a pain ...
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24 votes
1 answer
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Why are drug dosages so high in some mice studies?

On reading through some research on the effects of certain drugs I often come across staggeringly high dosages such as in this paper: Römer, B., Pfeiffer, N., Lewicka, S., Ben-Abdallah, N., Vogt, M. ...
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Why are vaccines for polio taken orally while vaccines for TB need to be injected?

My thoughts are that maybe the TB antigens necessary to produce an immune response are proteins; therefore they can be digested in the stomach and small intestine. But I may be wrong though. I am ...
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How does Sodium Valproate cause neural plasticity

I have been reading a fascinating paper: Valproate reopens critical-period learning of absolute pitch 18 individuals were given Sodium Valproate (VPA) for a fortnight during which they trained on a ...
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Why would diffusion be faster across a non-specialised tissue?

The standard protocol for a person experiencing chest pains is to chew a 300mg aspirin tablet, the argument being that chewing rather than swallowing the tablet results in the aspirin entering the ...
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Intrinsically disordered proteins as potential drug targets

Intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) are a class of proteins that do not adopt a stable secondary or tertiary structure under physiological conditions in vitro, but still have biological functions....
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15 votes
1 answer
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Why does Penicillin only affect bacterial cell walls

I was quite fascinated by the feature Should Science Pull the Trigger on Antiviral Drugs—That Can Blast the Common Cold? in this month's Wired magazine. They explain that Penicillin is effective at ...
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How does paracetamol work?

Hinz et al. 2008 found that COX-2 may be inhibited by paracetamol, and this is attributed to it's analgesic and antipyretic properties. However, there are other more recent claims from Andersson et al....
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Looking for a cancer drug target database to guide sequencing of patient tumor DNA

I have a question I would like to pose to the community. I have recently received access to a bench-top ion torrent DNA sequencer. Our idea is to use this machine to sequence the DNA from patient’s ...
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14 votes
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Resources for finding all drugs of a certain class

I may be embarking on a project involving a fairly extensive healthcare records data set, looking for the use of a particular type of drug (for example, "Proton Pump Inhibitors"). But these drugs are ...
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Is cancer caused by vitamin B17 deficiency?

I have read in an article on the internet that cancer is caused due to deficiency of vitamin B17 which has been removed from our diets long ago in the western food. But some people say that vitamin ...
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Why do antidepressants have a delayed onset of action?

Why do antidepressants take so long to reach efficacy? I've read of theories about it perhaps being due to the strength of negative feedback via serotonergic and adrenergic autoreceptors during the ...
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How do you design a drug to be delivered to the CNS?

I have just started reading up on structure-based methods for drug design (this is completely not my field so apologies for stupid questions that will be coming along!) Clearly, some drugs are ...
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Do mammals develop tolerance to anticholinergics?

I know that first generation H1 antagonists, commonly known as antihistamines have anticholinergic effects. Their sedative side effects go away due to tolerance, but as for their anticholinergic side ...
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Do spinal cord reflexes (such as the knee-jerk reflex) continue to function under general anaesthesia?

The knee-jerk reflex (patellar reflex) is an example of a stretch reflex (myotatic reflex). Stretch reflexes are monosynaptic reflexes happening in the spinal cord without involvement of the brain. ...
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Why doesn't a substance like loperamide promote analgesia?

Loperamide is frequently used to slow gastrointestinal motility. It is available over the counter (in the US, I don't know about elsewhere) without any regulations whatsoever, yet it's derived from ...
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Why are there so many medicinal plants?

Question Quite a few plant species can be used for medicinal purposes wiki. As an example, Filipendula ulmaria is rich in acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin). An allele that produces a substance which is ...
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Does current evidence support the use of resveratrol as an anti-ageing drug?

A while back there was a lot of noise about resveratrol, a naturally occurring phenol which was touted as a potential anti-aging drug due to its role in regulating the SIRT 1 gene. A number of studies ...
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What is "irrational" drug/molecule design?

Both the papers "Directed evolution: the 'rational' basis for 'irrational' design" by Tobin et al. and "Rational and 'Irrational' Design of Proteins and Their Use in Biotechnology" ...
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How does aspirin "thin" blood?

As we all know, aspirin doesn't actually thin the blood, as it has been explained to me, it makes it "slippery". Slippery blood doesn't stick to itself hence this helps prevent internal blood clots (...
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How does methamphetamine (meth) damage neurons?

Meth is considered to be neurotoxic by forming reactive oxygen species and oxidizing the neurons. But unlike dopamine, which, by the way, is neurotoxic due to ROS induced dopaminergic stress, meth ...
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10 votes
2 answers
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What are the effects of caffeine on the mammalian circulatory system?

A friend of mine told me an anecdote about his mother, who drank too much caffeine, to the point she became hypotensive and would pass out. Because caffeine acts as a stimulant, I'm assuming the ...
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Do drugs always degrade after they have passed their expiration date?

I have been wondering for some time whether several drugs really have an expiration date. Let's narrow the scope and think about only "common" drugs, e.g NSAIDs, antibiotics etc. For example, would ...
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2 answers
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Do hormone drugs affect whether a person feels sexual attraction to males or females?

I know that ingesting testosterone and other hormonal drugs may stimulate libido and increase sexual desire. But I wonder, if a man ingests female hormones such as estrogen, will he experience sexual ...
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9 votes
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Is there any completely Computation Drug ever launched in market?

I am working in bioinformatics(part of it in Drug Designing) for years, still if I have no idea about it. As it is too hard to prove (Pass all Clinical trials) and get FDA Approvals. So, My question ...
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9 votes
1 answer
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What hydrolyses aspirin within the digestive tract and blood stream?

I have had some further thoughts after my previous question regarding the buccal delivery of medication. The active compound in aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid or systematically 2-Acetoxybenzoic acid) ...
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9 votes
3 answers
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Is it better to take a half dose of paracetamol and a half dose of ibuprofen together rather than a full dose of either?

Recently, I heard on this health-related radio programme that it was better to take a half dose of paracetamol and a half dose of ibuprofen together, rather than the full dose of either one, for acute ...
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1 answer
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How do Benzodiazepines induce Rewarding (Euphoric) effects?

Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs that serve as positive allosteric modulators of the GABAA receptor by binding to their own "site" on the aforementioned receptor. By doing this they produce ...
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How do the pharmacodynamics of the NSAIDs differ and are there "resistant" COX phenotypes?

I know that the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g., aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen) affect the enzymes cyclooxygenase (types I and II). Is there any difference in the degree to which these ...
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8 votes
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What is the motivation behind fluorinated pharmaceuticals?

From what little research I've done, it appears that a significant portion of modern psychoactive drugs are fluorinated in one way or another (for example, Buproprion, Fluvoxamine, or any number of ...
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1 answer
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What is a "mechanistic study"?

I believe a "mechanistic study" means a study where a medicinal product is being used but the purpose of the study is to investigate the patient or disease, not the medicinal product. How does this ...
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3 answers
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Why is methylcellulose used in pharmaceuticals?

Why is methyl cellulose used as a pharmaceutical excipient? Is it due to certain chemical properties? What are the reasons for relying on the chemical properties of methyl cellulose?
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Why antipyretics do not bring the body-temperature below normal?

Antipyretics like paracetamol are used to decrease the body-temperature in fever patients. But some of them are also used as pain-killers in sprain or other injuries (where there's no fever). In ...
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8 votes
1 answer
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How does lactulose cause the removal of ammonia from the colon?

Lactulose is also used to reduce the amount of ammonia in the blood of patients with liver disease. It works by drawing ammonia from the blood into the colon where it is removed from the body. [Source]...
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How does paracetamol interfere with immune system?

Paracetamol is used to reduce body temperature when it is to high. The high body temperature (fever) is known to be an indication that immune system fights against an infection. In this context I ...
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7 votes
2 answers
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Why does caffeine give you so much energy, while being so low on calories?

There's definitely something I'm missing here. Since calories is a unit of measurement for energy, and caffeine seemingly gives you a lot, how can the labels on caffeinated products have such a low ...
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1 answer
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Influence of alcohol on brain cells

As I am not related to biology, I would appreciate if you can keep your answers as simple as possible. My question is about the influence of alcohol on the brain. As far as I know, drinking alcohol ...
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Why do different pain killers have different effects on people?

I've noticed some pain killers working great for me, while others have no effect. Works for me Aspirin APC † Naproxen Doesn't work for me Paracetamol Diclofenac Tramadol I doubt there is ...
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How does Iota-Carrageenan achieve an antiviral effect?

"Cold Defence" nasal sprays are recommended to be taken either preventatively or in the early stages of a cold. The active ingredient in these sprays is Carrageenan. After some research, the active ...
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7 votes
1 answer
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Does a mydriatic drug neutralize the action of a miotic?

If a person were administered a mydriatic, would the subsequent application of a miotic neutralize the action of the former? If the sequence were reversed would a mydriatic neutralize the effect of a ...
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7 votes
1 answer
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What is the biological mechanism underlying caffeine intolerance? (CYP1A2 or other?)

As far as I can tell, caffeine metabolism occurs primarily via the CYP1A2 enzyme. I am curious as to whether mutations in the CYP1A2 gene are associated with caffeine intolerance. Some site that is ...
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7 votes
1 answer
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Making penicillin using animals - specifically, a goat

In the scifi novel Lucifer's Hammer, one of the characters (a biologist, if I remember correctly) finds himself in a post-apocalyptic world and tries to make penicillin to save his own life. To do ...
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Pharmacologically, can tricyclic antidepressants have a side-effect profile similar to neuroleptics?

Torticollis (wryneck, cervical dystonia) is a neurologic movement disorder causing involuntary muscle spasms in the neck. Often, neuroleptics can cause such a side effect. I'm wondering if this ...
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What mechanism causes the presence of photosensitizers in mitochondria to change membrane ionic currents?

In the original question, the article in question was talking about specifically about this compound, Benzoporphyrin: Characterization of Perturbing Actions by Verteporfin, a Benzoporphyrin ...
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