chapter  2
14 Pages

Background for Nonchemists

Although nonchemists are usually intimidated by chemical structures, drugs are chemicals and a basic understanding of chemistry is necessary to understand the properties of drugs. The name of a drug is arbitrary and provides little or no information about the drug, but the structure defines a drug and provides many clues as to the likely properties of the drug. It is a valuable skill to be able to look at the structure of a drug and be able to predict with a reasonable degree of certainty many of the properties of that drug; one of the goals of this book is to facilitate developing this skill and to make it more accessible to nonchemists. Although the focus of this book is on drugs, in principle, drugs are no different than other xenobiotics (any foreign compound, be it from an herbal product or a chemical waste).