Volume 93 Issue 45 | p. 37
Issue Date: November 16, 2015

Periodic Graphics: The Chemistry Of Cold Medicines

Chemical educator and Compound Interest blogger Andy Brunning gives us a dose of the molecules behind decongestants, cough syrups, and throat lozenges
By Andy Brunning
Department: Science & Technology
News Channels: Biological SCENE, Organic SCENE
Keywords: Cold medicine, decongestant, expectorant, cough syrup, phenylephrine, demulcent, ibuprofen, throat lozenge
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To download a pdf of this article, visit http://cenm.ag/coldmedicines.
Infographic
 
To download a pdf of this article, visit http://cenm.ag/coldmedicines.

A collaboration between C&EN and Andy Brunning, chemistry educator and author of the popular graphics blog Compound Interest. To see more of Brunning’s work, go to compoundchem.com. Check out all of C&EN’s Periodic Graphics here.

 
Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © American Chemical Society
Comments
Robert Smith (Wed Nov 18 15:04:24 EST 2015)
You missed the best sore throat lozenge, Cepastat, that uses good old phenol as its active ingredient. The cherry flavor is the best of the two offered. It is difficult to find them as not many pharmacies in this area stock them. Give them a try.
Joseph Okogun (Thu Nov 19 01:11:26 EST 2015)
Thanks Andy for this information. Next time I have a cold, I shall be aware of the chemicals that I am swallowing. I wonder if dichlorobenzyl alcohol is environmental friendly.
chems (Fri Nov 20 13:07:50 EST 2015)
it's probably not, but for pharmaceutical agents there is usually very little data available about how they behave in the environment once cleared from the body. The assumption is probably that the total amount released into the environment is too little to have an impact.
Dr Jose M Prieto (Tue Oct 18 13:23:34 EDT 2016)
Another wonderful infographic from Andy, I am a great admirer of your work. I teach at UCL Pharmacy and always recommend my students to have a look at your website to add eye-candy to our chemistry curriculum.
Just a comment on this . The section painkillers had to read actually antipyretics / pain killers.
In my opinion I see paracetamol more as an antipyretic whilst ibuprofen is both antipyretic / pain killer.
Keep up the good job!
Andy Brunning (Sat Oct 22 19:12:47 EDT 2016)
Thanks! I'm flattered that you enjoy the graphics and recommend them to your students. Thanks for the point about antipyretics – you're right that it would be a good idea to mention that effect too.
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