Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name







The study of the relationship between chemical constitution and physiological effect embraces many very interesting problems which are, however, frequently difficult to solve. In the investigation of any drug the first step is to determine the principle to which the physiological effect is due, and then by analysis and synthesis assign the correct chemical constitution to this principle. When the chemical constitution is definitely known, other compounds of a similar structure may be prepared, and their physiological action compared with the original drug. By this means it is sometimes possible to prepare drugs which possess the principle desired in the natural product, but which do not have certain minor harmful physiological effects which were in the natural product. Drugs, to be useful, must also possess certain other properties such as solubility, stability during sterilization by boiling, and a minimum irritant action. All these properties in the original drug may frequently be improved upon by the chemist who can vary the chemical structure in the correct way. An interesting illustration of such a compound is novocaine, which, though possessing the same local anaesthetic effect as cocaine, never-the-less lacks the harmful toxic properties present in cocaine. After much investigation it was shown that the local anaesthetic action of cocaine was due to the fact that an amino alkyl ester was present. The cocaine molecule has the following structure.