Drug testing and drugs from plants
Before drugs become available to the general public they need to be tested to make sure they work, and don’t have any horrible side effects. We know this through the past, experiments such as William withering digitalis soup, he discovered that extracts from foxgloves could be used to treat dropsy. Withering made a chance observation, a patient suffering with dropsy made a good recovery after being treated with it, he knew foxgloves were poisonous so he used patients to find out the correct concentration of it.
Nowadays drug protocols are a lot more strict and controlled. Before using it on any live subjects computers are used to look for any side effects . Tests are then carried out on human tissue in a lab and then live animals before clinical trials can be carried out.
There are three phase to the clinical trials
- Phase one involves testing a new drug on a snall number of healthy individuals, it is done to find out a safe dosage and look for side effects.
- Phase two is to be tested on a larger group of patients, to see how well the drug works
- Phase three is when it is compared to existing treatments. It involves hundreds, or even thousands of patients. They are split into two groups, one with the new treatment, and one who receives the existing treatment.
Placebos and double blind studies are used to make clinical trials more reliable.