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Spaceflight Pharmacology

  • Virginia WotringEmail author
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Abstract

Humans who have travelled in space have used medications to ease adaptation to their new environment (like anti-nausea medications) and to prevent adaptations that could prove deleterious to their long-term well-being (e.g., anti-resorptives to maintain bone mineral density). They have also treated the ordinary illnesses that humans experience and made certain that they have medication stocks available for the treatment of medical emergencies. A medical system for any space flight will be heavily reliant on medications, since surgical treatment options may not be feasible during a mission. For exploration missions, duration is a critical consideration. Longer journey length means increased likelihood of medical events occurring, which increase the supplies required; this must be balanced against the mass and volume limits inherent in a vehicle of limited size. Stability during storage is a crucial consideration for missions longer than 1 year. More research is required to understand the degradation of pharmaceutical products over time, with special attention to minimizing harmful degradation and determining how older products might be used safely. New manufacturing methods like 3D printing or expression by bioengineered microorganisms might 1 day enable crewmembers to produce fresh new supplies during the course of their mission, but there is much research and testing required to ensure safety and efficacy of the finished products.

Keywords

Spaceflight pharmacology Pharmaceuticals in space flight Space motion sickness Radioprotectants Integrated medical model 

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Space UniversityStrasbourgFrance

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