Although the world of medicine in contemporary times appears to be perfect, it wasn’t always the case. As our history has proved that medicine is only accepted widely as long as a new study isn’t published that provides a piece of concrete evidence that proves the negative effects of that medicine. This entire system of medicines can make one wonder if the medical world should be trusted or not? Well, that is a subjective matter, and we can always be thankful for these findings. One of the substances that are now deemed illegal is Aminopyrine.
What is Aminopyrine?
Aminopyrine or more commonly known as Aminophenazone is not a naturally occurring substance, it is exclusively man-made in the laboratory. While the exact date is unknown, it was first synthesized near the end of the 19th century. Two German chemists, Friedrich Stolz and Ludwig Knorr are credited with the first synthesizing of Aminophenazone. It was first commercially sold in 1897 under the name of Pyramidon by a German pharmaceutical company, Hoechst AG. To this day, this remains one of the only drugs that are available under prescription only. Initially, it was used as an analgesic, more commonly known as painkillers. Moreover, it was also sold as anti-inflammatory medicine, therefore, it was common for physicians to prescribe Aminopyrine to patients to cure aches and as a post-accident medication. Lastly, Aminopyrine also has antipyretic properties, which means it can also treat mild to moderate fevers, and it is administered orally. However, Aminopyrine has been banned for human use in the entirety of the African continent, and some parts of Asia, along with South America.
Interestingly, Aminopyrine is heavily used by the dairy industry because this drug allows farmers to measure the lactation of cows, and lactation is proportional to the absorption of the drug and the body’s water. This test is done by injecting Aminopyrine directly into the cow’s vein, and then, testing its urine, blood, and milk for the next 24 hours to see the amount of absorption.
This substance with thirteen carbon molecules or 13C-labelled Aminopyrine is used in many medical procedures to measure the activity of an enzyme known as Cytochromes P-450. While this compound is found in every life-form, in mammals, it helps them synthesize hormones and break down fatty acids. Due to the nearly complete absorption of Aminopyrine by the liver, it allows physicians to evaluate liver function without incisions within two to eighteen hours of administration. Although it is banned as traditional medicine, a microdose is allowed for this purpose. Breath tests with Aminopyrine are also conducted for the same reason.
Aminopyrine is also used in the treatment of solvent exposure. It is a condition in which a person comes in contact with or accidentally ingests a chemical, and due to the nature of these solvents, one can develop various kinds of diseases. Determining the function of the hepatic enzyme becomes essential, these are enzymes that regulate the rate of chemical reactions in the body. This is where Aminopyrine comes into play, as it allows doctors to measure the severity of the exposure.
Moreover, in some cases it is also being used to treat acute cases of Leukemia, so why the ban?
Reasons for the Ban
Not to be confused with Leukemia, this condition occurs when the number of leukocytes, diseases fighting cells are drastically dropped in the blood, and also white blood cells are significantly reduced in the blood as well. The name Leukopenia was derived from Greek, which roughly translates to white deficiency. Given the function of white blood cells to fight infections and diseases, this condition also puts a patient at greater risk of contracting other infections. Interestingly, Leukopenia never happens on its own, it is only the result of certain medications, which include Aminopyrine. Researchers don’t fully understand how Amunopyrine causes Leukopenia, but they strongly advise against its usage. Long-term usage of this drug can also result in permanent damage.
A Big NO for Men
In Australia, Aminopyrine, known as Aminophenazone is banned, and it is classified as a Schedule 10 substance. On the scale of drugs, Schedule 2 is over-the-counter medicine, and Schedule 10 is any substance that poses a serious threat to human life, even drugs like heroin are a Schedule 8 in Australia. Surprisingly, its derivative known as Dipyrone is heavily used in male enhancement medicines. Upon conducting regulatory tests, researchers found that Viagra, most commonly used to temporarily treat erectile dysfunction around the world had a significant amount of Dipyrone. Therapeutic Goods Administration of Australia has encouraged people who possess similar medicines to not use them and dispose of them at their nearest pharmacy. Moreover, Australian Border Force is given orders to seize and destroy any medicine that they find at the border. This finding only surfaced in 2021, so an instant ban hasn’t been placed on these male enhancement pills.
Not a Vitamin
In Hong Kong, Aminopyrine has been banned since 2013. Authorities were not aware of the negative effects of this substance, and it was used as a key ingredient in most Vitamin C tablets, particularly, in Yin Qiao Pian. Hong Kong’s Department of Health was informed about this drug when a Hospital Authority diagnosed a female patient with dropped potassium levels after ingesting mentioned Vitamin C. Moreover, amidst the Covid-19 pandemic China send millions of similar Vitamin C tablets to Hong Kong; however, authorities were quick to find Aminopyrine in it.
Although the cases have been rare, Aminopyrine is also known to cause Hemolytic Anaemia, Methemoglobinaemia, and Sulfhaemoglobinaemia. All of these are blood disorders, and Sulfhaemoglobinaemia cannot be reversed.