Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Side Effects

[Picture source: advancedlipocentre.co.uk (has been modified)]

In this rainy season, you might have had a flu or a cough, right? What kind of medicine were you taking? Most of the medicine for reducing the flu or cough had common side effects such as drowsiness (feeling really sleepy), dry mouth, or indigestion (a problem with the stomach). Then, if you take the medicine and those side effects appear, you may feel uncomfortable right? For example, if I am going to deliver a presentation, I have taken the medicine, I will be feeling really sleepy, having dry mouth, and lacking stamina, so my mind will only focus on rushing myself to finish it soon, go home, and take a rest. So, those side effects may disturb your activities so you couldn't do your activity with your best.

At the time when I take the medicine, I am wishing that the medicine will work, my disease will stop. However, during the medicine works, those side effects may appear. Even it has always been written in the label clearly.

Until this, I want to make clear the meaning of the side effects. So, side effects are the unwanted effects caused by medical treatment or the unwanted effects that appear during you take a medicine. Are you wondering how do the side effects appear? And what should you do towards those side effects?

To understand about how the side effects appear, there are two terms that you have to understand which are "active substance" and "receptor".

The active substance is the substance that will give the effect. For example, in Actifed syrup, there will be three active substances which are Triprolidine HCl, Pseudoephedrine HCl, and Guaiphenesin. So, they will work together to reduce the flu and cough.

Meanwhile, the receptor is something that spreads throughout the body. The receptor will get connected with the active substance to produce the effect. Without any connections to the receptor, the effect couldn't be produced.

The principle of the connection between a receptor and a substance is like a lock and a key, so only specific key that is fit to the specific lock, so is only specific substance that is fit to the specific receptor.

[Video source: youtube.com (has been modified)]

Unfortunately, in the drug development, it's so difficult to create a substance to be really specific. The researchers nowadays are only capable to create a substance in its simple form. Yes, it's really difficult to create a substance in its complex form. Even for a substance in its simple form takes years to be invented, how about the more complex one? it will take longer times to be invented while, on the other side, the demand for the medicine keep increasing.

The picture below gives an overview about a simple structured substance and a complex structured substance.

[Picture source: image.google.com (has been modified)]

Creating a substance is like connecting a part with other parts into a unity, the number of parts, the more complicated the process. That's why it take longer times to create the more complex one. However, I believe in the future, when the technology and the government give the support for the drug development, the more specific structured substance will be possible to be invented.

Nevertheless, for now, just with the simple structure of substance, it is still able to connect to its wanted receptor because the receptor is able to recognize. Besides the key and lock principle, as long as the receptor is able to recognize the substance so it can be connected. However, not only the wanted receptor that recognizes the substance but also other unwanted receptors may recognize it, as the simplier the form, the easier the receptor to recognize it. Hence, by the simple structure of the substance, it invites other unwanted receptors to recognize and get connected each other. The impact of every connection for sure is an effect. Therefore, if the unwanted receptor is connected, it will produce for sure the unwanted effect. This is where the side effects appear. When the substance is recognized by other unwanted receptors, get connected each other, and produce the unwanted effect.

For example, if a substance is purposed to connect to its wanted receptor which is located inside the head, after being connected each other, it will give the wanted effect, for example, reducing headache. However, unfortunately, at the same time, the substance is also recognized by the unwanted receptor which is located inside the stomach so when they get connected each other, the unwanted effect, for example, the stomachache is produced.

Therefore, the conclusion is to create or invent a more specific substance that will only connect to its wanted receptor so the unwanted effect will not appear. So, the more specific the substance is the more possible for the substance to connect only to its wanted receptor so it will reduce the side effects to appear. For now, it may be difficult to create the specific substance, yet, the scientist always work hard to make the hard thing to happen. The scientists don't give up easily, they keep working in the laboratory for the better future of people so it will possible in the future as logn as the scientist keep working and the people keep supporting.

So, what you should do towards the case? There is only one you should do which is to keep giving the support to the scientist and patiently waiting for the invention.

The journey until the medicine is approved to be able to be used by the people spends more than ten years.

[Picture source: image.google.com (has been modified)]

After the substance is invented, it has to enter the clinical trials to see the real effect and the safety after being consumed by a number of people. Before conducting the clinical trials, it has to be proven effective and safety in the laboraory study and also in the animal study. In the clinical trials, first of all, it has to be proven safety on tens of people. Then, it has to be expanded to the hundreds of people. The last, it has to be proven safety and effective in the more number of people wich is around thousands of people.

In this case, you can support the scientist by participating in the clinical trial if available. But, if you don't want to participate, just approve the activity and don't look down or criticize what the scientists will do toward the people in the clinical trials. Because some times, there are some people who look negative to the clinical trials, they asked other people not to participate because it will give harms and disadvantages.

Until this, I believe you have understood about the work of the scientists. The scientists work hard for the sake of the people. I believe that the scientists never had an intention to give harms or disadvantages to the people through the clinical trials. So, that's why the preclinical trials are conducted before the clinical trials. To make sure it has been proven safe and effective in the animal so it will reduce the possibility to harm the people. Even, every people has already read and signed the informed consent that they agree for participating in the clinical trials so it will never be a coercion from the scientist. To guarantee the health issue, the scientists also provide any kind of medical treatments if something unwanted happens toward the people.

In conclusion, how the side effect appears is because of a really simple form of the active substance that can connect not only to its wanted receptor but also to other unwanted receptors then produce the unwanted effects that appear as the side effects. The scientists always work hard to develop better medicine to reduce the side effects so the people will feel more comfortable every time taking the medicine, but it takes times, so what you should do is to keep supporting the work of the scientists and patiently waiting for the invention.

I am as the future scientist who will involve in the drug development later after completing the study, I am really happy if you become more understand about what the scientists have done for years and I really appreciate your trust and your understanding. Your trust and your understanding is really valuable and meaningful for us because it gives power for us to keep working.

By the way, thank you for visiting my blog :D
Posted on by Nurul Fajry Maulida | No comments


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