By Jan R. McTavish

Soreness and gains tells the tale of the way a standard ailment—the headache—became the heart of a multibillion greenback pharmaceutical within the usa. regardless of the expanding authority of the scientific career within the 20th century, therapy of this has remained principally within the arms of the general public. utilizing the headache as a case learn, and advertisements as an important resource of data, Jan McTavish lines the beginnings of the fashionable over the counter undefined. the yank pharmaceutical built from nineteenth-century providers of plant-derived medicinal drugs for either expert and residential care. branches of the developed over time—the moral department, which bought items in basic terms with prescriptions, and the nostrum department, which was once famous for its lively advertising options. on the finish of the century, they have been joined by way of German businesses that mixed a robust dedication to technological know-how with competitive salesmanship. considering German medicines have been either powerful in treating complications and typically on hand, victims in need of quickly aid may well simply receive them. the outcome used to be a brand new type of "legitimate" pharmaceutical that precise shoppers at once. Historians of medication in addition to extra normal readers drawn to the background of the headache will get pleasure from this attention-grabbing account of the production of the fashionable pharmaceutical undefined.

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Extra resources for Pain and Profits: The History of the Headache and Its Remedies in America

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2 VVVVVVVVVV Drug Supply in Nineteenth-Century America Whether they had headaches or not, Americans loved to take medicines. 2 There were large wholesalers of indigenous and imported raw botanicals, and small local manufacturers (often attached to a pharmacy) of items such as quinine, strychnine, and morphine. 3 A growing number of firms produced tinctures (alcohol-based solutions) and fluid extracts as conveniences that saved the doctor or local apothecary a good deal of time and bother. In addition, there was a wide variety of specialty manufacturers, specialty importers, and companies making ready-to-use recipes (more about these later).

40 By far the majority of headache treatments prescribed in the nineteenth century reflected this point of view. 41 Even when headaches were thought to be caused by something not connected with the digestive system, a laxative would do the patient no harm. When the nervous system was involved, headaches could be treated with various sedative preparations, including bromides, cannabis (especially useful in dealing with nausea), or bloodletting. Stimulants such as caffeine were also used—again, with the intention of targeting whatever was postulated as the underlying cause of the pain.

4 He favored tartar emetic, for example—a noxious antimony and potassium preparation—whose therapeutic and toxic effects were virtually indistinguishable. Having spent about two years at Guy’s Hospital in London, in addition to training at a proprietary school, Langstaff was actually better educated than many of his colleagues. He subscribed to some important journals and modified his therapeutics over the course of his career, but even so, his patients must have had a rough time of it. How much worse might it be for the patients of doctors with even less training?

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