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Where did ibuprofen come from? Clinical research, of course!

With all the controversy around the COVID-19 vaccine, it seems that people have forgotten that their post-pizza antacid or daily birth control pill once came from the very same place: breakthrough clinical research. As you may know, before a medication can be made available to the general public, it must first go through a series of clinical trials to prove its safety and effectiveness. Here are some examples of common medications that once made their way through the pipeline:


Whether you’ve got a headache or a sprained ankle, often the first thing you reach for is a bottle of ibuprofen. But did you know this drug is actually the product of a long research program? That’s right, during the ’50s and ’60s, researchers intending to develop a “super aspirin” for treating rheumatoid arthritis created ibuprofen. Although the drug proved disappointing at the clinical stage, its short elimination half-life and exceptional gastrointestinal tolerability helped it become the first nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) licensed for over-the-counter use in the US and UK.


In 1928, bacteriologist Alexander Fleming discovered a fungal contaminant affecting the growth of a bacteria in a petri dish. Initially, he thought this fungus – now known as penicillin – could be useful as a local antiseptic. But as more scientists began to research his discovery, they quickly realized that penicillin had the potential to be a life-saving antibiotic. Between 1941 and 1942, a team of researchers conducted a series of clinical trials involving 170 patients that demonstrated the remarkable effect of penicillin in fighting bacterial infections – without toxic side effects. The drug eventually became instrumental in treating World War II soldiers and even your bout of serial strep throat in the second grade.


Although we know Benadryl – or diphenhydramine – as an allergy medication, this drug was initially discovered in 1940 by a chemical engineer conducting research into muscle relaxants. In 1946, Benadryl was approved for prescription use, but it wasn’t until the ’80s that it was approved as an over-the-counter medication.

Without clinical research we’d have no new medications. If you’re interested in getting involved with clinical research, you can contact us – and are also great places to start!