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Blockbuster DrugsThe Rise and Fall of the Pharmaceutical Industry$
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Jie Jack Li

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199737680

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199737680.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 26 October 2021

Conquest of Pain Analgesics: From Morphine to Lyrica

Conquest of Pain Analgesics: From Morphine to Lyrica

(p.136) 6 Conquest of Pain Analgesics: From Morphine to Lyrica
Blockbuster Drugs

Jie Jack Li

Oxford University Press

To live is to endure pain has been understood by almost everybody who is mature enough to gain some philosophical perspective on life. C’est la vie! as the French would say. Indeed, pain existed before the dawn of humanity—some research suggests that even plants respond to pain. According to ancient Greek myth, Prometheus stole fire from Olympus to give it to mortals. Zeus punished him by chaining him to a rock and having a great eagle feast on his liver daily, inflicting unbearable agony. Zeus also sent Pandora to Earth, unleashing pain (one of the items in Pandora’s box) and many evils as a vengeance to mankind. Without an understanding of pain, our ancestors resorted to many measures to ease pain; some were successful to some extent, and some were completely futile. Witches and shamans were sought out to exorcise pain from the body. From a psychological perspective, they might be effective for some believers. The hypnotizing technique reached its crescendo in the 18th century in France when Monsieur Anton Mesmer “mesmerized” many French citizens, liberating them from their pains. As civilization progressed, alcohol became more and more a universal painkiller after it was observed that drunkards were oblivious to pain. Chinese surgeon Hua Tuo (115–205 ad) gave his patients an effervescent powder (possibly cannabis) in wine that produced numbness and insensibility before surgical operations. Another ancient invention in Chinese medicine was the use of acupuncture to ease pain. Acupuncture, now an increasingly popular treatment for persistent as well as intermittent pain, is thought to work by increasing the release of endorphins, chemicals that block pain signals from reaching the brain. A recent survey by the National Institute of Health (NIH) indicated that acupuncture showed efficacy in adult postoperative pain, chemotherapy nausea and vomiting, and postoperative dental pain. There is no doubt that acupuncture works for some patients’ minor pain, through either physiological or psychological means, or both. or both. During the hype of the Great Culture Revolution (1966–1976), it was even claimed that major operations were carried out using acupuncture without any other anesthetics.

Keywords:   Academia, Barbiturates, Cancer pain, Depression, Ebers Papyrus, Gilead Sciences, HIV drugs, Janssen Pharmaceutica, Laudanum, Milotonin

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