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Testing Medicinal Drugs - Step 1

Researchers target a disease and makes lots of possible new drugs

1.  The Drugs are tested on human cells and tissues.

To see if it is toxic

You can't use cells or tissues that affect whole or multiple body systems

E.g. a drug for blood pressure

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Legal Drugs Impact on Society (2)

Tobacco and Alcohol habe a bigger impact on the NHS and society than illegal drugs, as so many people take them.


NHS spends a lot of money treating  lung disease (by smoking) 

There is also a cost to businesses of people missing days from work 

NHS costs treating people with alcohol poisoning and other illnesses caused by alcohol

There is also costs releated to crime (polce time/ damage to rpoperty) commited by people who are drunk

People also take time of work due to the side effects of drinking.

Alcohol and tobacco can cause sorrow and anguish to people affecte by it directly or indirectly

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Legal Drugs Impact on Society

Tobacco and Alcohol are both legal recreational drugs but have a massive impact on society.


Causes disease of the heart, blood vessels and lungs

Tobacco smoke causes cancer

Nicotine is the drug found in cigarettes - it's addictive soit's hard to stop smoking


Affects the nervous system + slows downs body reactions

Too much leads to impaired judgement, poor concentration and unconsciousness

Excessive drinking can cause liver disease and brain damage

Alcohol is addctive 

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Testing Medicinal Drugs - Step 2

2. Test the drug on live animals 

To see if it works

To see if it is toxic

To predict the best  dosage  (at which is it most effective)

To give info on possible side effects

Law in Britain - new drugs mst be tested on two different live mammels.

Some people think its cruel to test on animals

Some think that it is the safest way to make sure the drug isnt given to humans

Some think they are so differnt there is no point to it anyway

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Testing Medicinal Drugs - Step 3

Tested on human volunteers in an clinical trial

Clinical Trial - a research studies that explore whether medical treatment is safe and effective for humans.

The drug is tested on healthy volunteers - to make sure that it doesn't have nay harmful side effects.

At the start of the trial, a very low dose of the drug is given and this is gradually increased.


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Testing Medicinal Drugs - Step 4

The drug is tested on people suffering from the illness.

The optimum dose is found - where it is most effective with the least side effects.

This is in a double-blind trial

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Developing New Medicines

We test new medicines to mae sure it is:

Effective - It must prevnet or cure a disease or at least make you feel better

Safe - the drug must not be too toxic or have unacceptable side effects for the patient

Stable - you must be able to use the medicine under normal conditions and store it for some time

Successfully taen into and removed from your body - it must reach it's target and be cleared from you system once it has been done it's work.

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Performance-Enhancing Drugs - For and Against


Athletes have the right to make their own decision about whether taking drugs is worth the risk or not.

Drug-free sport isn't really fair anyway - different athletes have access to different rainig facilites, coaches, equiptent etc.


It's unfair if people gain an advantage by taking drugs, not just through training

Athletes may not be fuly informed of the serious health risks of the drugs they take

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Links between Cannabis and Hard Drug Usage

Almost all hard drug users use cannabis first

Though most hard drugs users do not go onto use hard drugs

The link isn't clear but here are 3 theories:

Cannabis is a "stepping stone"

The effects of cannabis create a disre to try harder drugs.

Cannabis is a "gateway drug"

Cannabis use brings people into contact with drug dealers


Certain people are more likely to take drugs generally, so cannabis users will also try other drugs.

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An illegal drug.

Scientists have investigated whether the chemicals in cannabis smoke cause mental health problems.

Results vary and are open to different interpretations.

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Performance Enhancing Drugs

Athletes take them to make them better at thier sport.

Several different types:

Anabolic steroids - increase muscle size to make you faster and stronger

Stimulants - increase heart rate, you can have other drugs that lower your heart rate for things like darts and shooting

These drugs can have negative health effects.

Steroids can cause high blood pressure

Some are banned by law, some are banned by sporting bodies and some are prescription-only.

There are some ethical problems with taking performance-enhancing drugs.

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Prescribed drug

Used to lower the risk of heart and circulatory disease.

They lower blood cholesterol

Reduce the risk of heart disease in diabetic patients

Howevera lot a studies have found it doesnt

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The changes to your body chemistry caused by the drug can cause you to become addicted to the drug.

If the drug isn't taken, an addict can suffer physical withdrawal symptoms - which are unpleasant.

Some addictive drugs include:

  • Heroin
  • Cocaine
  • Nicotine
  • Caffeine
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What are Drugs

A chemical that changes your body chemistry.

These changes can lead to the body becoming addicted.

Can be:


Used to treat an illness or releive the symtoms

for some you don't need a prescription (paracetamol) and some you do (morphine) because they can be dangerous if misused.



Legal or Illegal

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Recreational Drugs - Illegal

Illegal Recrational Drugs - can be either hard or soft

Hard drugs - thought of as being seriously addictive and more harmful

But "hard" and "soft" are not scientific descriptions.

Soft drugs can harm you as well

Heroin, ecstasy (hard drugs) and cannabis (soft drug) can all cause heart and circulatory system problems.

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Why People use Recreational Drugs



Stress Relief 

To get stoned/ Inspiration

Factors in the user's background or personal life.

It's a personal things and usually pretty complicated

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Double-Blind Trials

In human trials, scientists use a double-blind trial to se how effective the new medicine is.

The patients with the target disease are put in 2 groups.

One group is given the new drug and one group is given a placebo.  

Neither the doctor or the patient know who has recieved the real drug and who has recieved the placeb until the trial is complete. This is so the patients won't experience the placebo effect and so the doctrs aren't subconsciously influencing the trial.

The patients health is monitered carefully.

oftne the placebo will contain a different drug that is already used to reat he disease, so the patient isn't deprived of treatment by taking the trial.

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Was intended as a sleeping pill, and was tested for that use.

It was later found to be effective in relieving morning sickness in pregnant women.

But it hadn't been tested as a drug for morning sickness or on pregnant animals,

So it wasn't known that it could pass through the placenta and affect the fetus

It caused abnormal limb development.

About 10 000 babies were affected, half survived

The drug was banned

The Medicines Act 1968 (a new law)  which meant that more rigorous testing procedured were introduced and drugs must now be tested on animals to see if they have an effect on developing fetuses.

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Thalidomide (2)

Doctors then discovered is could treat LEPRASY

They started using it in developing countries but babies were still born with abnormalities.

Its use for leprasy was banned by the World Health Organisation (WHO)

But doctors are finding more uses for the drug including:

autoimmune diseases (wher the body attacks its own cells)

Some cancers

It is never given to people who are or might get pregnant.

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