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How the Scientist who Invented Ibuprofen Accidentally Discovered it was Great for Hangovers

How the Scientist who Invented Ibuprofen Accidentally Discovered it was Great for Hangovers

Written by Uswa Zainab

In the 1950s, when Stewart Adams, a British pharmacologist, and his colleague John Nicholson started tinkering with different drug compounds. They were intended to develop a cure for rheumatoid arthritis, something utilizing the anti-inflammatory effects of aspirin, however, beyond the risk of internal bleeding or allergic reactions.

Although they never succeeded in developing a cure for rheumatoid arthritis, they did come up with a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that was great to reduce all kinds of pain. The men licensed their creation, 2-(4-isobutylphenyl) propionic acid later named ibuprofen, in 1966. However, in the United Kingdom, ibuprofen was initially approved as a prescription drug; it was soon realized that this drug is more effective and safer than other painkillers. It ultimately hit retail as an over-the-counter drug.

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At that time, far away from the lab, Stewart conducted a final spontaneous experiment involving the only participant, himself.

Stewart arrived in Moscow in 1971. He had a pharmacology conference there to speak at. A reception was scheduled for all the attendees a night before the meeting. Stewart spent the night hitting shots of vodka with other attendees there. The following morning, he awoke with a pounding headache. He must had to attend the conference, so as reported in Smithsonian.com, he tossed back 600 milligrams of the drug ibuprofen.

In 2007, Stewart Adams told the Telegraph, “That was testing the drug in anger if you like, but I hoped it really could work magic.”

As anyone ever happened to be in such a situation can anticipate, the drug did overpower Stewart’s hangover magically. According to a report by The Washington Post, the pharmaceutical company Stewart worked for, after that event, started the promotion of ibuprofen as a general pain reliever, and the consumers began to come across its miraculous use as a hangover cure.

While talking to The Telegraph, Stewart said that “It is funny now, but in the past years, a great deal of people have told me that ibuprofen works good for them, and asked me if I know it was good for hangovers too? Certainly, I had to admit I did.”

About the writer:

Miss Uswa Zainab is an apt student of Sir Syed Kazim Ali, one of the distinguished grammarians in the contemporary world. She has gone through his 4-month course on Freelance Creative English Writing and Basic to Advanced Grammar. Pursuing graduation in the field of computer science and studies in English writing, she relishes writing articles and blogs on diverse themes: academic articles – everyday science, current affairs – and creative blogs – technology, beauty, fashion, entertainment, etc.

Name of the Student: Miss Uswa Zainab
Qualifications: BSCS
Total Articles/Blogs: 12
English Coach: Sir Syed Kazim Ali
Course Taken: Creative English Writing & Article Writing

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