Navigation Links
Pharmacists crucial in plan for terrorist chemical weapons
Date:12/9/2011

Los Angeles, CA (December 9th, 2011) Terrorist attacks with chemical weapons are a real possibility, according to a study that appears in the online open access journal, Journal of Pharmacy Practice, published by SAGE. Thanks to their extensive knowledge of toxic agents, and how to treat those who have been exposed, pharmacists are an invaluable resource in the event of an actual or potential chemical weapons attack.

Chemical weapons act on their victims through a number of mechanisms. They include nerve agents, chemicals that cause blistering (vesicants), choking agents, incapacitating agents, riot control agents, blood agents, and toxic industrial chemicals. With their knowledge of chemistry, microbiology, pharmacology, toxicology, and therapeutics, pharmacists are a valuable asset to health care facilities and government agencies planning for the unthinkable a terrorist attack with chemical weapons.

In his article, clinical pharmacist and forensic pharmacologist Peter D. Anderson details the clinical effects chemical weapons, and their treatment. Nerve agents work by blocking the actions of acetyl cholinesterase (the chemistry involved is similar to how many pesticides kill). These toxins include sarin, tabun, VX, cyclosarin, and soman. Vesicants like sulfur mustard and lewisite produce blisters and damage the upper airways. Choking agents, which cause fluid to build up in the lungs (pulmonary edema), include phosgene and chlorine gas.

Incapacitating agents are temporary and "non-lethal," and include fentanyl and adamsite. Mace and pepper spray are familiar riot control methods. Blood agents include cyanide, which works by blocking oxidative phosphorylation in the body. Toxic industrial chemicals such as formaldehyde, hydrofluoric acid, and ammonia also merit consideration as terrorist weapons.

"Potential chemical weapons are in no way limited to the traditional agents that we think of as chemical weapons," Anderson explains.

The good news is that there are potential antidotes to these chemical agents, which can save lives if they are used quickly and correctly. Pharmacists need to work in their hospitals to prepare emergency plans, and with the pharmacy and therapeutic committees to stock for a potential chemical accident or terrorist attack. In the US, for example, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintains a Strategic National Stockpile of pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and supplies that can be sent in an emergency to any US state within 12 hours.

The threat from chemical agents may appear to be a symptom of our modern society, but the idea has been around since antiquity. Solon of Athens is said to have used hellebore roots (a purgative) to contaminate the water supply in the Pleistrus River during the Siege of Cirrha as long ago as 590 BC. Modern chemical warfare during World War I included the release by German soldiers of 150 tons of chlorine gas near Ypres, Belgium, and phosgene and nitrogen mustard also played a role in the conflict. Choking agents, vesicants, blood agents, and nerve gas joined the range of chemical weapons available by World War II. Even though conflicting nations produced these in large quantities, no major chemical weapon events occurred during World War II.

The Chemical Weapons Convention was finalized in 1993, prohibiting development, production, stockpiling, and use of chemical weapons. The treaty also mandated weapons destruction. 130 countries signed the convention (excluding Iraq and North Korea).

Although the article is about chemical weapons, Anderson emphasizes that pharmacists can also be a resource for biological, radiological and nuclear attacks as well as natural disasters.


'/>"/>

Contact: Ashley Loar
ashley.loar@sagepub.com
SAGE Publications
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Community Pharmacists Rise to Meet Winter Weather Challenges, Survey Finds
2. Pharmacists Play a Vital Role in Providing Immunizations in Their Communities
3. Health advice from pharmacists saves hundreds of millions of euros
4. Adding pharmacists to docs offices helps patient outcomes, study shows
5. Pharmacists Improve Patient-Care Teams: Analysis
6. Organic Clothing can be as Crucial to Your Health as Organic Food or Yoga
7. Concord Coalition Reacts To Health Care Bill Passage: Cost Control Vigilance is Now Crucial
8. A more active lifestyle crucial for day-to-day function in COPD patients
9. Social Security Disability Benefits Can Be Crucial to Surviving With Spinal Cord Injury, Allsup Reports
10. A high-fat diet alters crucial aspects of brain dopamine signaling
11. Water management and malnutrition crucial issues at McGill food conference
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/20/2017)... ... 20, 2017 , ... “Code Word: Chocolate Biscuit”: a biographical account following a man who went ... creation of published author, Marlyn Ivey, born in Lynn Haven, Florida and at the age ... at 19 years of age, he joined the Navy and got married right out of ...
(Date:1/20/2017)... ... January 20, 2017 , ... “Knowledge is God’s Lighthouse”: ... by faith. “Knowledge is God’s Lighthouse” is the creation of published author, Gene Gaapf, ... and poetry collections. , “I have been writing since high school and have ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... ... , ... Next week after January 20th, the fear for many is that ... health needs of over 30 million. Many interviews with Dr. Carol Francis at the ... servants were suppose to prioritize. Interviews provided below. , Among those present ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... ... 2017 , ... WhoHaha , a digital media company dedicated to creating ... to produce a three-part video series that uses humor to highlight ways to improve ... of AHA’s Healthy For Good™ movement, which is designed to inspire all Americans to ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... Scotch Plains, NJ (PRWEB) , ... January 19, ... ... a board certified dermatologist by the American Board of Dermatology and fellowship trained ... Institute of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Li completed his internship in ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:1/20/2017)... , Jan. 20, 2017  Ethicon ... acquired Megadyne Medical Products, Inc., a privately ... and markets electrosurgical tools used in operating ... intelligence of Ethicon,s* advanced energy devices with ... a major step forward in Ethicon,s goal ...
(Date:1/20/2017)... , Jan. 20, 2017  Palladian Health, a ... announced the launch of an opioid management program ... on opioids and helps stem the growing tide ... prescribed to treat chronic non-cancer pain (back pain, ... risks and lack of evidence regarding long-term effectiveness. ...
(Date:1/20/2017)... , January 20, 2017 Avillion LLP, ... appointment of Mark Weinberg , MD MBA as Chief Medical ... , USA . ... Dr Weinberg has spent more than 17 years ... 20" pharma companies to micro-cap biotech. Over the course of his ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: