ISSN (Print): 2211-5560
ISSN (Online): 2211-5579
Volume 7, 2 Issues, 2018
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ISSN (Print): 2211-5560
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Oxidative stress in Neurodegenerative and Psychiatric disorders
Guest Editor(s): Puneet Kumar, Ashish Baldi
Guest Editor(s): Robert T. Gerlai
1 Abstract Ahead of Print are available electronically
8 Articles Ahead of Print are available electronically
The paradigmatic precept, primum non nocere, is often attributed to such founding icons of Western
medicine as Hippocrates of Kos (460 BC to 370 BC) and/or Galen of Pergamon (129 to 200 AD).
Scholars, however, place this maxim of medical morality in the hands of the great Scottish physician,
Thomas Sydenham (1624-1689), who has been called the English Hippocrates [1-5]. The application of
this principle is critical when considering the use of pharmacologic agents for the management of patients
with medical and psychiatric (behavioral) disorders [6, 7].
Recommendations of various medications date back to the pharmacopoeia of China by the Red
Emperor, Shen-Nung (2737 BC) and the Egyptian pharmacopoeia the 1550 BC Ebers Papyrus; the latter
was a 110 page scoll with 700 formulas of various origins (mineral, vegetable and animal) [8, 9]. The
envisioned benefit of medications for improving one’s sports performance can be seen with the history of
the Ancient Greek Olympics (776 BC-393 AD) that sought to improve changes of sports success with
such drugs as cocaine, amphetamine, strychnine and magic mushrooms; some modern atheltes have added
anabolic steroids for the same quintessential quest .
Unfortunately, exiguous examination was often provided to the potential adverse effects of medications
taken for medical or psychiatric benefit to the person or patient. The 19th and 20th centuries taught many
that potential advantage(s) from the use of chemicals such as addictive drugs (i.e., cocaine, morphine,
heroin, methylamphetamine, others) did not outweigh the potentially exigent adverse effects of these
chemicals . The 20th and 21st centuries have continued to teach clinicians to neutrally and carefully
weigh potential benefits of all medications with potential adverse effects that may harm the patient.
Even “miracle” medications must be appreciated in this manner. For example, the discovery and
application of penicillin are classic in this maxim of “primum non nocere.” The acclaimed Scottish
luminary, Sir Alexander Fleming (1881-1955), became a pioneer of penicillin in 1928; he identified it
from the mold Penicillium notatum [11, 12]. Almost immediately, the medical profession also discovered
that for some patients, adverse effects to penicillin could become a serious problem [13-15].
The age of psychopharmacology for mental health was perhaps activated in the 20th century with the
1937 publication of Charles Bradley’ study on children with behavioral problems taking benzedrine .
This was followed with various reports on mental health medications such as methylphenidate and
chlorpromazine in the 1950s as well as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in the 1990s . In
addition, research in the 20th century was produced dealing with the potential benefical effects of lithium,
tricyclic antidepressants, benzodiazepines, antipsychotics and others .
One of the lessons learned in the 20th century and now early in this 21st century is that all medications
have potential adverse effects; they can be allergic or non-allergic with various underlying pathophysiolic
mechanisms---whether mild, moderate, severe, or life-threatening [9, 17]. Clinicians must remember the
time-honored lessons taught in training about medications including that the word pharmacology comes
from the Greek word, pharmakon, that means “poison” in ancient Greek and became “drugs” in modern
Greek [9, 18].
Clinicians prescribing psychopharmacologic agents to their pediatric patients must always keep in mind
the safety of their patients. The ratio of risks to benefits must always be scrutinized by caring clinicians
who should be neutral in this regard, are not unduly influenced by pharmaceutical pressure for patients [9, 19, 20]. It is in this sincere spirit that the current issue of Current Psychopharmacology is
provided to consider the potential adverse side effects of selected psychopharmacologic agents in
Medicine does not consider the interests of medicine, but the interests of the patient...No physician,
insofar as he is a physician, considers his own good in what he practices, but the good of his patient.
Socrates (470 or 469-399 BCE) in Plato’s Republic.