School of Pharmacy

Dr Stewart Adams OBE - Ibuprofen inventor and Nottingham Pharmacy graduate - passes away


We were sad to learn of the recent passing of the renowned chemist and pharmaceutical scientist Dr Stewart Adams at the age of 95. The discovery of Ibuprofen in the 1960s by Dr Adams and his colleagues at the Boots Laboratories in Nottingham marked a turning point in non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug design. Dr Adams had joined the research department at Boots after graduating with a BPharm from the Pharmacy Department at the University of Nottingham (then University College, Nottingham) in 1945. The stories of the subsequent development of Ibuprofen in the 50's and 60's by Dr Adams and his team and of how he first tested the drug on himself have become part of pharmacological folklore.

With the introduction of Ibuprofen into clinical practice in 1969, patients finally had access to a drug that was effective and had significantly less side-effects than the anti-inflammatory drugs available at the time. The excellent safety record of ibuprofen led it to be made available over the counter in 1983. Indeed it is now listed as one of the WHO's 'essential' medicines.  Its chemical stability has also enabled the drug to be formulated in to many different forms, such as topical gels and creams, as well as advanced oral formulations thus greatly increasing its range of clinical applications.

The legacy of the continued effectiveness and widespread use of Ibuprofen around the world by countless patients is we feel a fitting and lasting memorial to Dr Adams and his work.

Posted on Tuesday 5th February 2019

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