9 Drug Approvals That Changed the Future of Medicine
When people think of wonder drugs they think back to Alexander Fleming’s penicillin, the world’s first antibiotic. They may also think of aspirin, used as a painkiller and also as an anti-clotting agent for patients with a high risk of stroke or heart failure.
But there are thousands of drugs that have changed the course of history and saved lives or enhanced the quality of life for millions of people around the world.
Here are some of the biggest approvals in the last 10 years:
A new drug approved by the FDA in December 2016, Spinraza is used for children and adults with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Clinical trials of the drug found that infants taking Spinraza showed significant development improvements with 40 percent reaching milestones that babies with type 1 SMA typically do not reach, such as rolling, crawling, sitting up and standing. Find out more about Spinraza here.
Used for treating depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, panic attacks and bulimia, Prozac is the world’s most widely prescribed antidepressant. Approved by the FDA in December 1987, Prozac works by controlling the serotonin levels in the brain. Source: World History Project
Zidovudine (also known as AZT) is a drug used for HIV and AIDS patients and was approved by the FDA in 1987. It reduces the amount of HIV in a patient’s body. It is often used in conjunction with lamivudine and abacavir to help stop or slow the production of HIV, allowing the patient’s immune system to build and making them less susceptible to potentially deadly infections. (Source: Aidsmap.com)
In 1922, Canadian doctor Frederick Banting discovered that extracting insulin from the pancreas of a dog could help diabetic patients. The insulin was later taken from pigs and cows rather than dogs but some patients had an allergic reaction to it. Genentech created the first synthetic insulin in 1978—recombinant DNA insulin— which didn’t cause an allergic reaction and could be mass produced, changing the lives of diabetes patients the world over. (Source: howstuffworks.com)
Digoxin is derived from the digitalis plant (foxglove) and is a drug used for patients who have an irregular heartbeat or have suffered heart failure. The drug makes the heart beat faster pumping more blood around the body. It was first available as an injection in 1982 and then in a tablet form in 1997. (Source: everydayhealth.com)
Rifampicin is one of the leading drugs used to treat tuberculosis. It is an antibiotic that can also be used to treat MRSA where other antibiotics have failed. It was introduced to the world in 1967. (Source: Rifampicin.com)
Birth Control Pill
The contraceptive pill revolutionized the lives of women in the 1960s. First marketed as a drug to treat menstrual disorders, its birth control properties meant that women had smaller families and were able to pursue careers outside of the home. It was first introduced in the U.K. to married women in 1961. (Source: BBC.co.uk)
Levodopa is used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and derived from the vicia faba (fava bean) plant. Levodopa (or L-dopa) converts into dopamine, the chemical in the brain lost in Parkinson’s patients. It has been used as a treatment for the disease since the late 1960s. (Source: stylecraze.com)
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