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Fast and Dangerous Siblings NAME THAT


initially created at the University of Berlin in 1887, when Romanian chemist, Lazar Edeleano, was researching a synthetic form of a naturally occurring plant substance found in Ma Huang. Te younger sibling was born in 1893. Tese drugs spent their early childhoods in obscurity and this class of drugs wasn’t rediscovered until 1929 when American biochemist, George Alles, published his first clinical results using the older sibling. A Philadelphia-based pharmaceuti-


cal company obtained the rights to this drug and was the first to commercially market and further synthesize other ac- tive forms of the drug—including the younger sibling. Te older sibling was first marketed in 1932 as an over-the-counter (OTC) inhaler. Tese drugs proved to be so popular that they provided a significant portion of funding for the ongoing research and development efforts at this pharma- ceutical company. Te compounds were widely utilized to increase the efficiency of military personnel during World War II. American and British troops used the older sibling, while the younger was used by the Germans and Japanese. Tey continued to be used by the military into this millen- nium and were implicated in a friendly-fire incident in Afghanistan in 2002. In the late 1930s, these two drugs were

marketed for the treatment of narcolepsy, depression and anhedonia. During the war years, they also gained favor in off- label use for weight loss. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, there was a significant amount of use of these substances, es- pecially aſter the initial patent expired in 1949. In the late 1950s, the older sibling was marketed in combination with a bar-

54 datia focus

his edition of Name Tat Drug in- volves two drugs from the same fam- ily. Te oldest of these siblings was

biturate called amobarbital to counteract the agitation that some users experienced with the drug. Tis combination also helped to prevent anxiety without the side-effect of drowsiness, and as such was widely used to treat mental and emotional distress. Other manufacturers soon fol- lowed suit by combining this drug with yet other barbiturates. It was estimated that in 1962, enough of

these drugs were produced to supply the entire population of the United States with forty-three (43) standard 10-mg doses per year. In the 1960s, the intravenous use of these drugs became popular and may represent the beginning of their use for euphoric effects. In the 1990s, there was a rise in recreational use which was associ- ated with the emergence of dance clubs and the electronic music scene. Historically, the older sibling has been

more popular in Europe. In 2008, it account- ed for more than 80 percent of all fatalities associated with the use of this drug and more than 30 percent of all global seizures. During this same time period, seizures in China and North America represented the largest proportion of global seizures of the younger sibling. In the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ (DTI) data, positivity for the younger sibling in the U.S. General workforce spiked in 2003 (68 percent above 2002 levels) and has fallen 65 percent be- tween 2002 and 2012. In contrast, positivity for the older sibling in the DTI has steadily increased since 2002 and was 67 percent higher in 2012 than in 2002. Today, these drugs are used thera-

peutically to treat attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obesity, Parkinson’s disease and narcolepsy. The prescription use of the older sibling has increased significantly during the last two decades due to the treatment of

summer 2013

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