, Volume 19, Issue 6, pp 293-297
Date: 27 Nov 2011

Fifty years since the discovery of ibuprofen

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It is now 50 years since the discovery of the pharmacological effects of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) ibuprofen, and over 40 years since its introduction to clinical use as a prescription drug for the treatment of arthritic pain and inflammation (Adams 1987; Rainsford 1999, 2003). The initial discovery of the anti-inflammatory effects of ibuprofen in guinea pigs was made on 19 December 1961 by Dr. (now Professor) Stewart Adams, OBE (Fig. 1), the late Dr. John Nicholson (who was the chemist who synthesized the drug), and Mr. Colin Burrows at the Boots Co., Nottingham, UK (Rainsford 1999). The development of ibuprofen by the Boots Company, UK, was based on the need to have a safer form of aspirin (a “Super Aspirin”) without its gastro-intestinal effects, and also without the serious adverse effects of phenylbutazone and corticosteroids; these drugs being the principal anti-inflammatory agents available at the time (Adams 1987; Rainsford 1999).Fig. 1