The development of medicine over the course of history has tremendously helped many people alleviate sickness and even prolong their lives. It has always been a big venture to study and invest in research for new innovations in the Medical World. Thanks to researchers, scientists, and doctors putting their best foot forward to help alleviate unreasonable diseases and complicated illnesses, there is now a variety of treatments to choose from! This ranges from pain relievers and medicine to the more complicated treatments such as those involving surgery.
Before we got to the point where medicine for cough and cold is easy to get, a lot of “medical misadventures” have occured. In humankind’s study to find out what causes certain illnesses and how to fend off of them, there moments of hit and miss.
Everyone makes mistakes. Unfortunately, this includes some people in the medical world every now and then. Some risky decisions had been made in the past wherein medicine that was supposed to help actually had dangerous side effects. Take time to read this list because you never know if they’re illegally prescribed or sold in public:
One of the worst medical blunders ever in history happened during the 50’s. Thalidomide was introduced to the public as a mild sleeping pill. It was taken by women who were with child as it helped alleviate dizziness. Little did they know the effects it would give their new born. Doctors at that time could not comprehend why babies from that era suddenly grew deformities and nervous system complications. It took a long time to figure out the culprit but eventually, it was discovered that thalidomide was responsible for children and babies acquiring limb deformities.
Diethystilbestrol, othwerise known as DES, became popular amongst pregnant women. It was used to treat cancers of the prostate and breast, but pregnant women took it for preventing problems such as abortion and miscarriages. Much like the case with thalidomide, it wasn’t until much later did they realize that the drug had side effects. The daughters of women who took this drug were forty times more likely to suffer from vaginal and cervical cancer compared to daughters whose mothers did not take the drugs.
Fenfluramine and Phentermine (fen-phen)
The idea of appetite suppressing drugs has been around for a long time now, especially with the widespread epidemic of obesity. Far from being just a nuisance, obesity is life threatening, with over 2.8 million of people dying each year. In the 90’s, millions of Drug Companies tried to make drugs that’ll help lessen the need to eat. As such, appetite-suppressing drugs like fen-phen were created.
Unfortunately, the fenfluaramine or the ‘fen’ in fen-phen has one component that can change chemicals in the body which can lead to degeneration of tissues in heart valves. Also, hundreds of patients who took these medications developed valvular heart disease that led to heart failure. Many patients needed to undergo heart surgery and had other complications.
There are many more medical debacles that occurred over the years. Despite how shocking the results of these mishaps were, in a way they were able to contribute to the development of modern-day medicine. These examples are just a small and partial percentage compared to the vast number of successful treatments and the billions and billions of lives saved.