Never Do Unto Others What You Wouldn't Do to Yourself

Albert B. Lowenfels, MD


June 23, 2015

A Cure for the Common Headache

Figure 7. Patient suffering with headache. Image from iStock

In the middle of the 20th century, Stewart Adams, a British pharmacologist, searched for an anti-inflammatory agent to treat patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Steroids were available for treating this disorder, but Adams wanted a novel, nonsteroidal drug that had similar effects but without the side effects of steroidal drugs. He first tried the agent himself because, as he said, "There are certain side effects that you can't study from animal testing, for example rash, nausea, and headaches."[10] He may have been the first person to observe the beneficial effects of this agent in relieving the symptoms of a hangover.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents inhibit cyclooxygenase and are now widely used drugs for reducing pain and inflammation in many common conditions.


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