03. tbl. 97. árg. 2011

Injection medicines: Historical notes on their use and development, with special reference to Icelandic conditions

Brot úr sögu stungulyfja. Með sérstöku tilliti til íslenskra aðstæðna. Seinni hluti: Stungulyf á Íslandi

The first reliable syringes and hollow needles for the injections of drugs subcutaneously, intramuscularily and intravenously or for other injections came into use shortly after 1850. As far is known, morphine was the first drug to be injected subcutaneously, using a syringe and a hollow needle. Use of injection medicines, especially containing morphine or other alkaloids, became widespread among European doctors in the latter half of the 19th century. The use of injection medicines began before the existence of infectious microbes or microorganisms in general had become common knowledge, or the equilibria of electrolytes in and around living cells had been understood. Thus, injection medicines, their production and procedures of use had to pass through lengthy development lasting nearly one hundred years, in order to reach the levels of quality standards now universally accepted. It was also a definite advancement when disposable syringes and needles came into general use around 1960. Accessibility to injection medicines and their use was seemingly on a low scale in Iceland until 1930 or thereabout. The production of injection medicines in Iceland began in substance in the fourth decade of the last century. The production was generic, following official formulas, and was based in several pharmacies and a few drug companies. Only two producers offered a sizeable assortment of drugs. The production gradually became concentrated in a few firms and was finally handled by only one international, locally based, generic drugs firm, where the domestic production of injection medicines ended shortly after 2000.

Key words: syringes, needles, injections, medicines, drugs.

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