Post by Cryptoengineer
Its wierd to me to hear of Warfarin being used as a medicine - I've
always thought of it as rat poison.
As I said in my first immediate reply:
Well, yes. It's a blood thinner. If your blood gets too thin, you're dead.
Medicines - at least the allopathic kind - do things to the body. Since a
healthy body is all right where it is, too much of just about any
medicine will kill you.
Dosage makes medicines out of poisons.
Even before I saw a TV show about beginning pharmacy students where on their
first day this principle - that drugs are all poisons - was pointed out to them,
I remember laughing at a John W. Campbell editorial where this principle was
He was writing about his experiences on medication for high blood pressure. How,
if he took a little too much of it, he was incapacitated, but in a benign way.
And so in his editorial he suggested that there was an excessive prejudice
against chemical weapons, because this was an example of how they could be made
into very benign and nonlethal agents.
For one thing, if someone is incapacitated, say by pepper spray, then it becomes
possible and even easy to kill him by cutting his throat with a knife.
But what I saw as I was reading the editorial was this - if you're using a
chemical agent as a weapon, the dosage is going to be very variable. If you're
using it to disable enemy troops so your men can safely walk in to their
installation, you will have to make sure you've given all of them an
incapacitating dose, or some of them are going to still be able to shoot your
men going in.
If you do that, though, then some of those enemy troops will have had to have
received a dosage several times larger.
A medicine that lowers blood pressure. A little too much, and you can't get out
of bed. A lot too much... no oxygen to the brain, and death comes in a short
And I was just shocked that this wasn't *obvious* to him, so that he could write
such a silly thing.