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Join an evening class to study about drugs

  1. May 23, 2005 #1
    I actually join an evening class to study about drugs, and today a classmate asked me to explain how our immune system reacted when we took some medicines to cure fever, for example.

    You know, I am not young any more, and it is really shameful if I told that young pretty lady that I knew nothing about it, and instead I promised her I would give her a "best" answer tomorrow night since i was quite busy with a bunch of unsigned, unchecked papers brought home from company.

    So, could you help me out ? I really don't know how a certain dose of drugs can "help" our IS in case we get sick. Thank you, your God blesses you :wink:
     
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  3. May 23, 2005 #2

    iansmith

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    It depends on the type of the medication and the reason a person has fever (infection vs. inflammation). Usually, the medication will act on the fever inducing (pyrogenic) components itself, any component that interact with pyrogenic-components or any component down the chain. The idea is to block the interactions between molecules and stop the reaction chain.

    Moonbear, adrenaline and DocToxyn will be able to give more details on the action of the medication.
     
  4. May 23, 2005 #3

    Monique

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    How our immune system reacts to drugs? Drugs are there to support the immune system so that it has a lesser work load, drugs are there to inactivate the pathogen.

    There are cases where the immune system does more harm then good, in case of auto-immune disease or in case of a very high fever. Our body is not able to withstand several days of very high fever, so medication is given to bring the temperature down.

    There are many mechanisms by which drugs work, you need to be more specific what kind of disease you are talking about. Bacterial infection? Some drugs puncture holes in the bacterial cell wall (by a cholesterol analog), so that the bacteria become leaky. Other drugs interfere with the metabolism of pathogens, such as in the case of medications against virusses.
     
  5. May 23, 2005 #4
    iansmith, I also know that dose of drugs taken can also affect patients' health, would you tell me how and what happens in our Immune system especially at the molecular level if we take, say, over the allowable limit of drugs?
    Plus, could you be a little bit more specific about the interactions of molecules as you just mentioned in your post because I am admittedly a complete molecular biology novice, and it has been only a few weeks since our course started. I took it to only have general ideas about it, not to be a specialist. :wink: Thanks
     
  6. May 23, 2005 #5

    Monique

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    You really need to specify what type of drug you are talking about.
     
  7. May 23, 2005 #6
    :wink: Monique :wink:,
    Thank you,
    Precisely, I'd like to understand how our immune system works at the molecular level when a certain kind of drug is taken.
    How about HIV ? :wink:
     
  8. May 23, 2005 #7

    Monique

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    As I said, drugs are directed towards a pathogen not towards the immune system. Unless you have a defective immune system that needs to be repaired.

    Immune examples:
    You can take drugs that inactivate TNFalpha (a molecule involved in anaphylactic shock), the drug is a monoclonal antibody that binds to the TNFalpha so that it cannot do its work anymore. Same approaches are taken for inactivating IgE (involved in allergic reactions) a monoclonal antibody will bind to the IgE so that it cannot bind to receptors of immune cells.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2005
  9. May 23, 2005 #8
    Thank you Monique :wink:
     
  10. May 23, 2005 #9

    iansmith

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    A good example would be antihistamine. The molecule is an antagonists that binds to the histamine receptor. Therefore the antihistamine do not activate the receptor and block the activation of the receptor by histamine. histamine is a key player in allergic reaction.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antihistamine
     
  11. May 24, 2005 #10

    Moonbear

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    Well, if you're taking the drug for fever, and it's not an antiviral or antibiotic that actually treats the infection itself, then it's most likely a cyclooxygenase (Cox) inhibitor (aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen). Cox is an enzyme involved in the synthesis of prostaglandins, which are the fever producing agents. Reducing fever doesn't really help you get better, it just helps you feel better, and keeps the fever from getting dangerously high. It can also help because when you're running a fever, you also often lose your appetite, so reducing the fever can also get your appetite back enough so you can provide yourself with the nourishment you need to keep your strength up while fighting the infection.
     
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