Questions Science and Education

What is medicinal chemistry?

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Krishna Mehta

In the pursuit of happiness

Chemistry is crucial in our daily life. Dawn to dusk, we can see that chemistry dominates our life. Now, chemistry has a lot of sub-branches like organic, inorganic, etc.

Medicinal Chemistry is primarily associated with drugs (medicines) for human consumption. Medicinal chemistry deals with the discovery, research, and development, of various kinds of drugs that are used to cure diseases. It plays a vital role in drug analysis and its quality control.

Medicinal Chemistry focuses mainly on the small organic compounds which can be modified and used as drugs. Medicinal chemistry focuses on the identification and then careful manipulation of new chemicals, which can be transformed into drugs, fit for therapeutic purposes. 

Medicinal chemistry uses the knowledge obtained from various other research fields such as biochemistry, molecular biology, structural biology, physicochemistry, pharmacology, etc. which play a vital role in the manufacturing of drugs.

The term Medicinal Chemistry first appeared after the 2nd World War, where developments started taking place in the molecular pharmacology. Soon after the discovery of computers, structural analysis of drugs became easier.

With the discovery of radiolabelling, binding assay profile study became more comfortable, and with the combination of cell biology, scientists identified the mechanism of drug action, which was a revolution for medicinal chemistry.

Importance:

  • Medicinal chemistry helps in the analysis of the physical and chemical properties of drugs (medicines).

  • Physical features such as solubility, light sensitivity, nature of the drug (amorphous or crystalline), melting point, etc.

  • Chemical properties such as pH, saturation, the presence of internal bonds, reactive tendencies, etc.

  • Medicinal chemistry helps in the differentiation and isolation of the stereoisomers which are essential for disease treatment.

  • It gives a detailed explanation about the different functional groups present inside the drug so that proper alterations can be made possible.

  • Medicinal Chemistry also gives a prediction about the metabolites.

Applications:

  • It is used in the synthesis of the biologically active molecule, for the treatment of various diseases.

  • It is used in the discovery of new and efficient drugs.

  • It provides an economical alternative process of manufacturing expensive medicines.

  • It helps in the development of drugs with minimal toxicity.

  • Medicinal chemistry plays a vital role in increasing the effectiveness of a drug.

    Also read:  What is analytical chemistry?

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