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Nature and Source of Drugs

Drugs are chemicals that can be used for diagnosing, preventing, treating, or curing diseases.
Drugs are chemicals that can be used for diagnosing, preventing, treating, or curing diseases. Originally, these compounds were sourced from natural sources, the majority of which were plants. With the advancement of technology, most medications are now synthesized in laboratories. The principal sources of medicines may be divided into the following categories:

Plant source

A variety of plants have medical properties and have been used as medications or drug supplies for ages. Although the leaf was the first plant source for pharmaceuticals, other plant parts (e.g., barks, fruits, roots, stem, wood, seeds, blooms, bulbs, etc.) were later used for drug extraction. The material is known as crude drug when it is utilized without additional processing, such as pulverized leaves or bark, boiling mixtures, or powdered sap.

Animal source

Animals are used to produce a wide range of important medications. These therapeutic ingredients are often produced from the animal's bodily fluids, fluid, or glands. Diabetes and hepatitis are treated with drugs derived from animals, including insulin, heparin, adrenaline, thyroxin, cod liver oil, musk, beeswax, enzymes, and sera antitoxins. In the same way that plant products can be refined or raw, animal drugs can be either.

Microbial sources

Several life-saving medications have been produced from microbes in the past. Penicillin is generated by Penicillium chrysogenum, streptomycin by Streptomyces griseus, chloramphenicol by Streptomyces venezuelae, neomycin by Streptomyces fradiae, bacitracin by Bacillus subtilis, and so on. Agrobacterium biobar produces a polysaccharide gum called Xanthomonas campestris (Xanthomonas campestris), lactic acid bacteria produce dextran (polysaccharide of glucose called lactobacillus brevis), and microorganisms produce curdian (a -1,3-glucan polymer called Agrobacterium biobar and Alcaligenes faecalis).

Marine sources

Bioactive substances derived from coastal flora and fauna have long been used to prevent, treat, or cure a variety of ailments. Coral, sponges, fish, and marine microbes all create physiologically active compounds that have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anticancer properties. A number of marine cyanobacteria, including Curacin A from Lyngbya majuscule, eleutherobin from Eleutherobia species, discodermolide from Discodermia dissoluta, and others, possess anti-tumor effects.

Mineral sources

As medications, minerals (both metal and non-metal minerals) have been used for hundreds of years. To sustain equilibrium, our bodies require trace components of minerals. Patients who do not have an acceptable quantity of these components may take mineral-based medications to supplement their diet.

The gold salts (solganal, auranofin) used to kill dandruff are iron sulfate (ferrous sulfate); magnesium sulphate (magnesium oxide) is a purgative; magnesium trisilicate (magnesium) and aluminium hydroxide (aluminum hydroxide) are antacids for hyperacidity and stomach ulcers; zinc oxide (zinc oxide ointment) is used in wound. Radioactive isotopes of iodine, phosphorous, and gold are used in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders, including cancer.

Synthetic derivative

A synthetic medication is created by chemical synthesis, which involves the rearrangement of chemical compounds to create a new substance. Human laboratory abilities, as well as enhanced knowledge and comprehension of phytochemical inquiry, aided in the evolution of synthetic medicine sources. Currently, the vast majority of medications used in clinical treatment are synthesised in pharmaceutical and chemical laboratories.

Sulphonamide was one of the first synthetic pharmaceuticals, beginning with the manufacture of prontosil dye. Acetylsalicylic acid (thus known as aspirin or ASA), oral diabetes medications, antihistamines, thiazide diuretics, chloroquine, chlorpromazine, local and general anesthesia, paracetamol and phenytoin are a few other examples.

In general, synthetically made pharmaceuticals offer better yields, which are substantially related to quality, purity, and low cost.

Semi-synthetic sources

Drugs that are semi-synthetic are neither totally natural nor completely synthetic. They are a hybrid and are often created by chemically changing compounds derived from natural sources in order to boost potency, effectiveness, and/or lessen negative effects. Semi-synthetic techniques are sometimes employed to manufacture pharmaceuticals when natural sources give impure substances or when drug synthesis (complex molecules) is difficult, costly, and financially unviable.

The nucleus of a medicine received from a natural source is preserved in semi-synthetic medications, but the chemical structure is changed. Semi-synthetic medicines include heroin derived from morphine, bromoscopolamine derived from scopolamine, homatropine derived from atropine, ampicillin derived from penicillin, and so on.

Biosynthetic sources (genetically engineered drugs)

There is a lot of research going on here that combines findings from diverse fields including molecular biology, recombinant DNA technique, DNA manipulation, immunology, and immune pharmacology. Biotechnology, genetic engineering, recombinant DNA, bioengineered, and biopharmaceuticals are all examples of biologically-based therapies. Recombinant Hepatitis B vaccination, recombinant insulin, and additional examples are available.
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Ankur Choudhary is India's first professional pharmaceutical blogger, author and founder of Pharmaceutical Guidelines, a widely-read pharmaceutical blog since 2008. Sign-up for the free email updates for your daily dose of pharmaceutical tips.
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