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The Serendipitous Discovery of Ibuprofen: How a Heartbroken Pharmacist Inadvertently Created One of the World’s Best-Selling Drugs

   Ibuprofen, a name closely associated with pain, is currently one of the best-selling anti-inflammatory painkillers in the world. According to public data, nearly 20,000 tons of ibuprofen are produced globally every year. However, people only know that ibuprofen is one of the most popular drugs, but they don’t know that its inventor, Stewart Adams, discovered it by mistake because he was drunk for love. Adams was therefore known as “The Father of Ibuprofen”.
  What’s even more unexpected is that when Adams was named “the man who understands women best” because ibuprofen helps relieve menstrual cramps, his wife Mary had the exact opposite opinion, saying that he should be included in the “most knowledgeable men.” Men who don’t understand women” list. So, does Adams really not understand women? What is the story behind his “accidental intervention”?
  Seemingly understanding but not understanding, first love hurts the most infatuated heart. In
   August 1923, Adams was born in Northamptonshire, England. His father was a train driver. Adams has two older brothers, a sister and a younger brother. Five children make the family, which is not already wealthy, even more stretched. He has been particularly interested in biology and nature since he was a child, and all kinds of strange animals in nature have become his closest playmates.
   When he was in middle school, a kitten died of an illness, and he was heartbroken. From then on, his biggest wish was to become a veterinarian when he grew up. However, when he was 16 years old, he had to drop out of school and work. Fortunately, he worked at a British chemical company named Boots in Cambridgeshire. Although he was getting further and further away from his dream of becoming a veterinarian, he was still dealing with drugs.
   He trained as a pharmacist’s apprentice at a Boots branch in Cambridgeshire, where he worked as an apprentice while selling medicines. He likes to delve into research and is very interested in the subject of pharmaceuticals. He often thought: “It’s amazing that a small pill can cure diseases after taking it.” Slowly, he learned to prepare medicine. At that time, pharmacies would prepare mixtures for individuals. Various powders could be stirred together to cure diseases. Adams found it not only interesting but also very creative.
   Two years later, Adams was still shuttled between various medicines. He often felt panicked. Medicine was too esoteric. He was just an apprentice and had no chance to study at university. He was destined to remain unknown.
   One morning, Adams was dispensing medicine. The supervisor led a beautiful girl in: “This is Angela, and she will be your junior sister from now on.” Adams looked at the new apprentice. Although she was dressed simply, she had a pair of The shining eyes are bright and clear, and the elegant expression is naturally revealed.
   In the following days, the sky in Adams suddenly became brighter. He and Angela prepared medicine together, read books together, and played together. Her liveliness and cheerfulness quickly infected him. Slowly, he began to have a special feeling for her. He felt that she was the most perfect girl in his mind.
   Adams secretly liked her, but he was too shy to confess. As days passed, the relationship between the two became closer and closer.
   One day, Adams was worried about his future again. Angela took his hand and said, “You have to fight for opportunities. Why not get a scholarship to go to college.” After hearing this, Adams decided to study harder.
   In 1942, after completing his three-year apprenticeship, Adams became a pharmacist and received a generous scholarship. With the support of the company, he entered Nottingham University College to study for a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy. Seeing that he finally fulfilled his college dream, Angela’s face lit up with excitement, but it soon dimmed. Adams going to college meant that they would also be separated. Adams held her hand tightly and said, “As soon as I graduate from college, I will come back to marry you.” Tears hung on Angela’s cheeks, just like her affectionate eyes, crystal clear.
   After entering college, Adams became more interested in pharmacy. He also had a strong talent and quickly gained the attention of his tutor. After studying, he wrote to Angela almost every day, until one day, he received Angela’s breakup letter: “I don’t want to drag you down, you have to study hard and get ahead…” Adams had a premonition that something must have happened
   , It was the school’s winter vacation, so he rushed to the Boots branch immediately, but the supervisor told him that Angela had left a few months ago because her father had arranged a marriage for her and married to a city far away.
   Angela’s bright eyes swayed in front of Adams’ eyes. They were the Saylilies in his heart, the acacia fruit in his hands, and a Ganoderma lucidum plant that suddenly came to him when he was lonely and at the lowest point. But now, everything has become a memory.
   Returning to school, Adams turned heartache into strength, devoted all his energy to his studies, and obtained his degree in 1945. After graduating, he returned to his original company and his first job was at Boots Penicillin Factory on Daleside Road, Nottingham, one of the first penicillin factories in the world.
  Two years later, he transferred to the Boots Research Department due to his outstanding work and received a research scholarship from the Leeds University of Pharmacology. He completed his PhD in September 1952, officially starting his path to pharmaceutical research.
  Seemingly strong but not strong, the true love is always in a thought. In the
   winter of 1952, 29-year-old Adams was assigned the task of finding a new non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug for patients with rheumatism and rheumatoid arthritis.
   At that time, the specific drug for treating rheumatoid arthritis was aspirin, but aspirin had serious side effects. Many people suffered symptoms such as allergies, bleeding, and indigestion after taking it. There was an urgent need for a drug that could replace aspirin on the market. At that time, in Switzerland, Several pharmaceutical companies in the United States and the United Kingdom are conducting research and development.
   Adams accepted the challenge, formed a team of three, and began to tackle the difficult problem. Research is a very long exploration process. They have conducted more than 600 experiments, but all of them failed. Adams couldn’t help but feel a little frustrated, and even wanted to give up, but every time, he would think of Angela’s hopeful eyes. Her eyes were still so bright, how could she give up? Experiments cannot always fail. You must find a way to break through the bottleneck.
   At dusk, Adams likes to walk in the afterglow of the setting sun. The warm feeling always brings him a lot of inspiration. He often thinks that one day, he may find the trigger point for arthritis drugs.
   One day, while he was walking slowly on the street, he found an old couple in their 70s in front of him. The old woman couldn’t help rubbing her left leg with her hand. The old man stopped and looked around for a bench, but there was a shopping mall on the roadside and there was no bench.
   Suddenly, a blond girl walked out of the mall. She went straight to the old couple, put the stool on the ground, and then slowly helped the old lady sit on it.
   The grandfather said gratefully: “My wife has arthritis. Every time he is tired from walking, he will take a rest. Thank you so much!” The girl smiled and said: “You’re welcome. The stools are from the mall. You guys have a good rest. You are not tired anymore.” I’ll give the stool back.”
   Adams looked at this kind girl, and his heart seemed to be hit by something. She walked up to the girl and started talking. It turned out that the girl’s name was Mary and she was a researcher at a scientific research institute. She came to the mall to buy things today and happened to see the touching scene of the old couple. In this way, Adams and Mary met and soon fell in love. He liked her kindness and she liked his talent. With Mary by his side, Adams’ mind calmed down. He was no longer eager for success, but concentrated on research.

   He proposed to the company that he should be assigned a chemist and that they should begin developing an anti-inflammatory drug to combat the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, which include joint pain and inflammation, low-grade fever, and flu-like symptoms.
   So chemist John Nicholson became his partner, spending all day in the laboratory and creating four different compounds for clinical trials. Unfortunately, each has unacceptable side effects, ranging from rashes to jaundice.
   Sometimes, Adams was inevitably disappointed, but Mary always encouraged her: “I believe in your talent, you will definitely succeed!” Every time, Adams was full of hope.
   In experiments after experiments, Adams accumulated a large amount of information and data, and the team continued to change their research ideas, and finally made some progress. After experiments on humans and animals, there is a drug that is several times more effective than aspirin, and experiments have shown that it can also reduce fever symptoms. This is the fifth compound developed by Adams. He said: “This is an improvement on other drugs.” The dosage form has been slightly improved, and we have high hopes for it.”
   As the research progressed, Adams and Mary’s love also came naturally. In 1954, they entered the marriage hall hand in hand. But no one expected that their marriage would have hidden troubles.
   In the second year of marriage, Mary became pregnant. One day, Adams happily put his ear on her belly: “I can hear the heartbeat of the child!” Mary quickly said: “Speak in a lower voice.” Adams sat down knowingly. On the side, the pregnant wife is a national treasure, but she cannot withstand bumps and bruises. He understands his wife, but her wife may not understand him. Adams is a little disappointed when he is ignored.
   Looking out from the living room of his home in suburban Nottingham, there is a garden that Adams loved, and endless fields in the distance. Every day Adams walked through the garden, across the fields, and to his laboratory.
   Since Mary became pregnant, he has devoted more energy to experiments. He has made great progress with the fifth compound and developed a drug called ibuprofen.
   At that time, the whole world was looking for alternatives to aspirin. In order to study the efficacy of various new drugs, Adams often tried the drugs himself. He believed that he should be the first to take the drugs before others took them. After taking ibuprofen, he found that this drug was not only very effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis, but also had very mild side effects such as allergies, bleeding, and indigestion.
  Adams was so excited about this discovery that he told Mary the good news as soon as he got home. But Mary just nodded and went back to her parenting training class. Adams was a little disappointed. He originally thought Mary would be as excited as him, but he didn’t expect that Mary’s thoughts were all on the baby.
  Both real and illusory, sentimental and lovesick.
   A somewhat lonely Adams came to the field outside the house. The smell of green crops blew in the breeze, and his heart instantly calmed down.
   Suddenly, a woman in white came into his eyes. Her back was slender, and the breeze blew the pale pink ribbon on her hat. Adams was fascinated by it. But Adams noticed that the girl’s body suddenly tilted, and then gradually crouched down. Judging from her movements, she seemed to be coughing violently. Adams walked up to the girl and asked with concern: “What’s wrong with you?” The girl raised her head, a pair of light blue eyes exposed under the brim of her hat, and her soft bangs were wet with anxious sweat on her forehead… The girl’s name is Sophia, she is
   a A librarian, she usually likes to come here for walks and bathe in the fresh air. She said gratefully: “Thank you for your concern. To be honest, I have a chronic disease. I have seen many doctors, but they can’t be cured.” “Really?
   What is the problem?” Adams asked with concern. It turned out that Sophia had been feeling a foreign body in her throat since her mother passed away. At first, she thought her voice was hoarse from crying, but something was getting worse and worse. She saw many doctors, but to no avail. Sophia said: “It has been three or four years! I can’t sleep well. When I feel uncomfortable, I will cough a few times and bend down to feel better…” After listening to Sophia’s narration, Adams judged
   from his profound knowledge reserve. It turns out that Sophia may be suffering from a kind of “throat abscess”. Adams said to her: “Actually, I am a pharmacist. I will try to help you prepare some medicine.”
   A few days later, they met again. Adams opened a paper bag, which contained 7 small bags, and said: “Some of these powders are German herbal medicines. You mix them with honey every night and slowly slide them down your throat. In addition, Sophia, you need to find some happiness.” Things to do, happiness is good for the lungs and throat!”
   A week later, when Sophia saw Adams again, her face turned red and she said excitedly: “Your medicine is amazing! I have seen so many Doctor, only you can cure my disease! My throat feels much better, I don’t know how to thank you!” In the
   following days, Sophia often met with Adams. They discussed throat diseases, music and literature, and even Science and life.
   During the conversation, Adams learned that Sophia had also been a country singer and had performed in many places. Not only was she profoundly knowledgeable, she was also well-informed, a woman rarely seen in Adams’ life. Adams admires her strength, but he only sees Sophia as a sister.
   However, out of gratitude, Sophia felt a surge of emotion in her heart. Every time she met him, Sophia would bring a soft and delicious cake made by herself.
   But the balance of friendship was broken the day before Adams’ birthday. When Adams opened the cake, he saw Sophia’s delicate handwriting: “It is my greatest happiness and honor to meet you!” This blessing made Adams feel a little weird.
   Treating patients is your bounden duty! But he must keep a distance from Sophia, otherwise this relationship will be dangerous and it will bring trouble to his life. In order not to hurt Sophia, Adams began to avoid her. At the same time, Adams was very busy because he went out early and came back late in order to do experiments.
   One day, Mary accidentally discovered Sophia’s loving letter. In the evening, as soon as Adams got home, Mary started to have a heated argument. Adams tolerated and understood his wife’s concerns, told the story of how he met Sophia, and assured that nothing happened.
   But love is selfish. Although Mary knew that her husband was a decent person, and she also knew that she only fell in love with Sophia out of gratitude, and her husband had stopped things from developing in time, but when she thought of herself at such a special time as pregnancy, she felt But Adams was chatting with other women, and he would feel jealous in his heart.
   In the following days, Adams did not see Sophia again, and the incident slowly faded away. Except for experiments, he stayed at home and took good care of Mary. He knew that although Mary didn’t say it, she felt somewhat uncomfortable in her heart.
   A few months later, their son David Adams was born, and a smile finally appeared on Mary’s face. Adams quickly confessed: “Let’s start over!” Mary’s face darkened: “Do you really understand women? When I was the most vulnerable during my pregnancy, you went to accompany other women. How could you bear it?”

   These words were like a heavy hammer hitting Adams. He felt that he should help Sophia treat her illness, but he really shouldn’t talk too much or get too close to her. This hurt both Mary and Sophia. That night, he drank several glasses of vodka, trying to numb himself with alcohol, and finally got drunk.
   In the middle of the night, he was suddenly awakened by a severe headache. He rubbed his forehead hard with his hands, but his head felt like it was going to explode. He secretly yelled, “There is a pharmacology conference the next day, and he has to give a speech. How can he do it in this state?”
   In desperation, he suddenly thought that he had a new drug ibuprofen in his pocket for his speech the next day. Since this drug can treat rheumatoid arthritis, it might also be able to treat headaches. So he took 600 mg of ibuprofen, but what he never expected was that the analgesic effect of this drug was very good. Within half an hour, his head no longer hurt at all.
   This discovery surprised him. It turned out that the painkilling medicine he had worked so hard to develop was right in front of him, but he never knew it. Subsequently, he immediately led the team to advance the research on this drug. Soon after, ibuprofen quickly passed clinical verification and was named “ibuprofen”.
   In 1962, Boots Company applied for a patent for ibuprofen and fully promoted it on the market. For a time, ibuprofen became a “miraculous drug” for pain relief, and Adams was called the “father of ibuprofen.” Seeing what Adams had accomplished, Mary finally forgave him.
   Ibuprofen was finally approved as a prescription drug in the UK in 1969, and by 1983 it was approved as an over-the-counter drug. Subsequently, ibuprofen began to be promoted and became popular around the world. In 1987, Adams was awarded the Order of the British Empire by the Queen of England in recognition of his achievements. However, what is unexpected is that this major invention that benefited all mankind did not change Adams’ life. He did not become a rich man because he gave up the patent fees and has been living in a simple house outside Nottingham, England. .
   In 2007, the British “Guardian” published a list of “50 Men Who Really Understand Women”, and Adams ranked 26th. Also on the list is well-known actor George Clooney. David said: “My father’s reason for being on the list is that ibuprofen helps relieve menstrual cramps.” However, Mary found it funny: “He actually doesn’t understand women at all, and he should be included in the ‘men who least understand women’ ‘List.”
   After hearing this, Adams smiled and said nothing. Perhaps, she was still brooding over her derailment that year. But Adams is convinced that his wife loves him deeply and tolerates him, and sometimes it doesn’t matter if she makes a few insults. After becoming famous, Adams said nothing about what happened back then and was extremely gentle to Mary. In his later years, Adams was a low-key and quiet man. He abided by the rules and never mentioned that he was the inventor. When he went to the drugstore to buy ibuprofen by himself, and the salesperson explained to him the precautions for taking it, he would listen patiently.
   In 2012, the British media interviewed Adams. He said: “I am not the god of medicine. My hero is Louis Pasteur, the inventor of the rabies vaccine, because he put his outstanding academic research results into practice. My favorite My favorite saying is also attributed to him: Luck only favors those who are prepared.” On
   January 30, 2019, Adams passed away in Nottingham at the age of 95, with his wife Mary by his side. After his death, his alma mater, the School of Pharmacy at the University of Nottingham, issued a statement, which read: “It is a tribute to Dr Adams and his life’s work that ibuprofen is continued, effectively and widely used by countless patients around the world. , the most perfect and lasting commemoration.”