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:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Apple Rehab Shelton Lakes , ... mock evacuation of the facility as part of a disaster drill on October 3rd. ... EMS and Shelton City Emergency Manager, as well as the Connecticut Long Term ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... Milford, NJ (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... weekend at scenic Alexandria Park in Milford, NJ. This free event, sponsored by ... and physical activity. The fun run is geared towards children of all ages; ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... “The Journey: From the Mountains ... possible to save lost souls in the Philippines. “The Journey: From the Mountains to ... dedicated teacher of the Bible. She has taught all ages and currently teaches a ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... New Orleans, LA (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... fitness centers in the U.S., announced today its plans to open a flagship location ... club will occupy the former Rooms To Go store next to Office Depot in ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... Asante, ... post-acute health care, have expanded their existing home health joint venture through an ... has been operating a joint venture home health company with Asante, delivering clinically ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/2/2017)... 2, 2017 Diplomat Pharmacy, Inc. (NYSE: ... and Consulting, LLC , and named its founder as ... in Tennessee , will operate under ... EnvoyHealth,s service offerings for health care partners to include ... "In an interoperable world, technology delivers ...
(Date:10/2/2017)...  AllianceRx Walgreens Prime, the combined central specialty pharmacy ... benefit manager Prime Therapeutics LLC (Prime), today officially began ... unveiling of new signage at its headquarters in ... a few other company-owned facilities across the country. This ... of whom will begin to see the AllianceRx Walgreens ...
(Date:10/2/2017)... Denmark , Oct. 2, 2017 The Rebound ... in the struggle to reverse the tide of prescription drug ... for regulating their medicine intake and stepping down their dosage ... set to launch in December 2017; the first 100,000 people ... Learn more at http://www.rebound-solution.com/ ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: