Medicating Modern America: Prescription Drugs in History

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With Americans paying more than $200 billion each year for prescription pills, the pharmaceutical business is the most profitable in the nation. The popularity of prescription drugs in recent decades has remade the doctor/patient relationship, instituting prescription-writing and pill-taking as an integral part of medical practice and everyday life.

Medicating Modern America examines the meanings behind this pharmaceutical revolution through the interconnected histories of eight of the most influential and important drugs: antibiotics, mood stabilizers, hormone replacement therapy, oral contraceptives, tranquilizers, stimulants, statins, and Viagra. All of these drugs have been popular, profitable, influential, and controversial, and the authors take a historical approach to studying their development, prescription, and consumption. This perspective locates the histories of prescription medicines in specific cultural contexts while revealing the extent to which contemporary debates about pharmaceutical drugs echo concerns voiced by Americans in the past.

Exploring the rich and multi-faceted history of pharmaceutical drugs in the United States, Medicating Modern America unveils the untold stories behind America's pharmaceutical obsession.

Contributors include: Robert Bud, Jennifer R. Fishman, Jeremy A. Greene, David Healy, Suzanne White Junod, Ilina Singh, Andrea Tone, and Elizabeth Siegel Watkins.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“These challenging essays mark the transformation of medication from a tradition of need assessed by physicians, to a culture that far exceeds a basic threshold for drugs on demand on the part of the public.”

“Provides a series of highly accessible and engaging analyses of prescriptions drugs.”
-Social Hiistory of Medicine

&“;The most valuable role of Medicating Modern America is as a teaching text. There are currently very few texts available for undergraduate teachers that offer digestible and critical assessments of the role of prescription drugs in the history of twentieth-century biomedicine; Medical Modern America—by providing a series of highly accessible and engaging analyses of prescriptions drugs—superbly fills this gap.”
-;Social History of Medicine

“A well-edited collection of eight timely and provocative essays about the key prescription drugs that have, for better or worse, helped shape American consumer culture and health since World War I.”
-Journal of the History of Medicine

“Their excellent example of balanced analysis should inspire other scholars to pursue further work in the new pharmaceutical history.”
-Gregory J. Higby,The Journal of American History

“A set of fascinating case studies. . . . Anyone who has taken prescription medications can benefit by reading it.”
-Metapsychology Online Reviews

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814783009
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 1/8/2007
  • Pages: 262
  • Product dimensions: 0.75 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Siegel Watkins is associate professor of the History of Health Sciences at the University of California at San Francisco and the author of On the Pill: A Social History of Oral Contraceptives, 1950-1970.

Andrea Tone is Canada Research Chair in the Social History of Medicine at McGill University. She is the author, most recently, of Devices and Desires: A History of Contraceptives in America.

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Table of Contents

Andrea Tone and Elizabeth Siegel Watkins
Part I
1. Antibiotics
From Germophobia to the Carefree Life and Back Again: The Lifecycle of the Antibiotic Brand
Robert Bud
2. Mood Stabilizers
Folie to Folly: The Modern Mania for Bipolar Disorders and Mood Stabilizers
David Healy
3. Hormone Replacement
“Educate Yourself”: Consumer Information about Menopause and Hormone Replacement Therapy
Elizabeth Siegel Watkins
Part II
4. Oral Contraceptives
Women over Who Smoke: A Case Study in Risk Management and Risk Communications, 1960–1989
Suzanne WhiteJunod
5. Stimulants
Not Just Naughty: Years of Stimulant Drug Advertising
Ilina Singh
6. Tranquilizers
Tranquilizers on Trial: Psychopharmacology in the Age of Anxiety
Andrea Tone
Part III
7. Statins
The Abnormal and the Pathological: Cholesterol, Statins, and the Threshold of Disease
Jeremy A. Greene
8. Viagra
Making Viagra: From Impotence to Erectile Dysfunction
Jennifer R. Fishman
About the Contributors

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