Charles Frédéric Gerhardt (1816-56) Heinrich Dreser (1860-1924) Bayer Aspirin Anton Kollisch (1888-1916) Alexander Shulgin (1925-) Gordon Albert Alles (1901-63) Corneliu E. Giurgea (1923-95)

TLW's Drugscope™ (Drug Historyscope)

By T.L. Winslow (TLW), the Historyscoper™

© Copyright by T.L. Winslow. All Rights Reserved.

Original Pub. Date: Sept. 6, 2016. Last Update: July 3, 2017.

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What Is A Historyscope?

Westerners are not only known as history ignoramuses, but double dumbass history ignoramuses when it comes to drug history. Since I'm the one-and-only Historyscoper (tm), let me quickly bring you up to speed before you dive into my Master Historyscope.

Charles Frédéric Gerhardt (1816-56) Heinrich Dreser (1860-1924)

In 1837 French chemist Charles Frederic (Frédéric) Gerhardt (1816-56) discovers Acetylsalicylic Acid, the active ingredient in willow bark, but sets it aside as impractical after his formulation proves unstable; in 1878 Felix Hoffman rediscovers it. In 1890 the non-addictive topical anesthetic Benzocaine is isolated in Germany, and given the trade name Anesthesin. In 1898 Bayer Pharmaceutical Products (founded Aug. 1, 1863) of Darmstadt, Germany begins marketing a new, rather habit-forming cough suppressant formula (good also for laryngitis and TB), with its trademarked drug heroin (diacetylmorphine) as it main ingredient ("Heroin, the medicine for coughs"); the name is derived from the German word heroisch (large, powerful); German chemist Heinrich Dreser (1860-1924) is dir. of research. In 1899 Bayer Co. of Germany patents and trademarks Aspirin, from the "a" in acetyl, and the "spir" in Spiraea ulmaria, the willowleaf meadowsweet, later calling it the "Wonder Drug"; it is sold in powder form, the first tablets being sold in 1915; as part of the 1919 Versailles Treaty Bayer gives up its patents on aspirin and heroin - WWI was one giant headache?

In 1881 Valproate is discovered, later being discovered to be useful in preventing migraine headaches and seizures and treating epilepsy and bipolar disorder; it is first used medically in 1962, and is marketed under the brand name Depakote.

Arthur Heffter (1859-1925)

In 1897 German pharmacologist-chemist Arthur Carl Wilhelm Heffter (1859-1925) isolates Mescaline, the hallucinatory agent in peyote cactus, and becomes the first "psychonaut", willing to test the stuff on himself.

Anton Kollisch (1888-1916) Alexander Shulgin (1925-)

In 1912 German Merck chemist Anton Kollisch (Köllisch) (1888-1916) synthesizes MDMA (Ecstasy) to stop abnormal bleeding; it is patented on May 16, 1914; its potential as a recreational drug is first publicized in 1978 by Russian-Am. chemist Alexander Theodore "Sasha" Shulgin (1925-) of UCB.

Gordon Albert Alles (1901-63)

In 1927 the first commercial amphetamines are synthesized by pharmacologist Gordon Albert Alles (1901-63) in Los Angeles, Calif., who notes the "stimulating effect on the central nervous system"; the Benzedrine (amphetamine sulfate) inhaler is introduced in 1932.

Corneliu E. Giurgea (1923-95)

In 1964 Romanian psychologist-chemist Corneliu E. Giurgea (1923-95) synthesizes the learning-memory enhancing drug Piracetam; in 1972 he coins the term Nootropic for intelligence enhancing or smart drugs.

In 1981 Alprazolam (Xanax) is introduced by Upjohn to treat anxiety disorders, becoming a blockbuster drug in the U.S.

In 1987 AZT (Azidothymidine) (Zidovudine) becomes the first drug to gain FDA approval for use in the treatment of AIDS.

On Sept. 18, 1988 Rogaine (originally Regain) (Minoxidil) becomes the first drug approved by the FDA for hair growth.

On Mar. 27, 1998 the Viagra (sildenafil citrate) pill for male impotence by Pfizer is approved by the U.S. FDA, and hits the market hard, with 3.6M prescriptions written in its first 4 mo.

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