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From Wagon-Era Paregoric to Computer-Era Herbals

Author(s):  Newton David W

Issue:  Mar/Apr 2001 - Compounding for Animals
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Abstract:  In this article, the author presents a brief chronology of change in the regulation of American pharmaceutical preparations and explores the trend of ensuring ever-greater safety in medications. The discussion focuses on paregoric; the United States Pharmacopeia, National Formulary and current official dietary herbal supplements, current National Formulary botanical monographs and 200 years of pharmaceutical progress. Tables provide a dosage schedule from a bottle of paregoric (early 1900s), formulas from the United States Pharmacopeia of 1831 and 2000, vital physical and chemical characteristics of medicinal plants and correlation of human responses with drug therapy. The author concludes that today death and disability from errors in composition, method, purity and strength are rarely caused by drugs compounded by pharmacists and are even less frequently caused by manufactured drugs. There is less control of the formulation parameters of some current US Dietary Supplements Health and Education Act herbal products, but those products are much safer to use and less potent now than were tinctures of foxglove and opium in formulations of the past.

Related Keywords: botanical monographs, evolution of pharmacy, herbal supplements, herbals, medicinal plants, opium, paregoric, pharmacy chonology

Related Categories: HISTORY, LEGAL

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