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UW-Platteville students, Quick Pitch participants hope to reduce side effects of prescription drugs

Two University of Wisconsin-Platteville chemistry students have hope that their research might improve the ways medication is delivered into the body. Junior Alexandra Mines and sophomore Sherrie Heinz-Kunert are researching the potential applications of thin polymer bilayers in the absorption of medicines.

Many medications cause severe side effects that can be unmanageable. This problem is particularly apparent among common mental health medications prescribed to treat conditions such as bipolar disorder, ADHD, anxiety, and depression. While medications target specific receptors in the body to produce their targeted beneficial effects, they often will affect other untargeted receptors as well, causing the adverse side effects. 

By using water-soluble polymer bilayers to absorb the high initial doses of medication, the medicine would be absorbed slowly and in a more controlled manner than is typically the case with medications today. This will greatly reduce or even eliminate adverse side effects, which are a major contributor to patients not adhering to their treatments.

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