The Role of Chemistry in History

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From Co to Pro: History Affects Novocaine

April 21st, 2008 · 2 Comments ·

|Introduction|Structures and Properties|Ancient Anesthetics|From Co to Pro: History Affects|

|Beyond the Dentist Chair: Novocaine Affects|Allergies|References|


Cocaine may not had been the safest anesthetic choice, but it did however make for a fabulous numbing device. When chemist set out to discover better choices, they sought synthesize a mimic of cocaine with lower toxicity and less dangerous side effects. The result…Procaine!


In 1905, German chemist Alfred Einhorn synthesized the exact combination of eliminating the bad and mimicking the good from cocaine into his new compound Procaine (Novocaine). Einhorn’s revolutionary discovery, however, sat in his lab in Germany, leaving many bewildered dentist without the new Novocaine to ease the pain.


Luckily, a curious dentist, Dr. Mendel Nevin was traveling through Europe giving lectures in his field. After a visit to Dr. Einhorn’s lab, Dr. Nevin retrieved some of Einhorn’s procaine. Dr. Nevin then began to make his own procaine back in New York. By 1911, the popularity of the drug became big enough that Nevin had serendipitously started the Novocal Chemical Manufacturing Inc.




The progression of history and discovery led to Novocaine’s birth which only further propelled the anesthetic market.

Tags: Procaine (Novocaine)