ELEMENTS OF CHEMICAL STRUCTURE AND INORGANIC NOMENCLATURE
Section I. ELEMENTS OF CHEMICAL STRUCTURE
Chemistry is the science that studies the composition and changes in
composition of the substances around us. Man's natural curiosity about the things and
transformations that he observed was the original impetus for the development of this
science, but its true beginning was in the work of the alchemists of the Middle Ages.
These men searched for a way to change the base metals such as lead into gold. In
the large span of time since then, chemistry has developed into a true science and we
have amassed a tremendous volume of knowledge. To facilitate the study of chemistry,
we can divide it into two divisions: Inorganic chemistry, which deals with the elements
and mineral materials, and organic chemistry, which deals with compounds containing
carbon. More divisions of chemistry exist, but we will be primarily concerned with these
IMPORTANCE OF CHEMISTRY
Why do we study chemistry? The answer to this question will be obvious when
you consider the various classes of compounds we encounter in medicine and in our
daily lives. For example, we are concerned with compounds such as drugs and the
changes they undergo. Here are some things chemistry will tell us about drugs.
a. Actions. Chemistry may tell us about the actions of drugs on the body. Drug
effects are determined by the chemical structure of a drug; changes in structure may
alter the actions of the drug.
b. Safety and Storage Procedures. Special safety or storage precautions may
be necessary for particular drugs. These can be identified by the chemical structure.
c. Incompatibilities. Sometimes, two or more drugs cannot be mixed because
of undesirable consequences. There are three types of incompatibilities:
(1) Chemical. Alterations of chemical properties may occur when two or
more drugs are mixed.
(2) Physical. Physical properties of ingredients may produce a mixture
unacceptable in appearance or accuracy of dosage.
(3) Therapeutic. When two or more drugs are given to a patient, they may
interact in some way to change the effects of one of the drugs.