Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Pharmacology/Classification

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Hi. Just wondering, what's wrong with the standard Categorization system of wikipedia? Or is this a place for drafting the scheme before implementing it? A problem I see with the present scheme(s) is that unlike, say, taxonomy of organisms, there is no unique way of classifying drugs. It would be much better to allow any given drug membership of multiple categories. The problems categorizing cannabis were already noted but really you'd be hard pressed to find any substance that doesn't have multiple descriptive terms that could be applied. The Category: system would allow for these multiple categories, and would automate the construction of hierarchy pages, links to them in drug entries, etc etc. Trying to do all this manually would be a nightmare IMO. Rkundalini 12:00, 9 Jun 2004 (UTC)

I agree. What's the difference between this project and Wikipedia:Categories? --Eequor 12:54, 12 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Consider the Anatomical_Therapeutic_Chemical_Classification_System as a base (see ) there may be some drugs (e.g. ones with no therapeutic use) that aren't officially designated, but a seperate category could be made for these drugs. Matt 01:50, 3 Jul 2004 (UTC)
I agree with using these standards, but this wikipedia list is not a very good scheme. There are many instances of double-categorization, and I believe that all these conflicts can be resolved. (For example ketamine, according to the system above, should be located under anaesthetics, but it is listed on this page under hallucinogen as well.) Hallucinogens and other "recreational drugs" seem to be the problem in this structure. Almost everything else could be organized clearly, but there is no hallucinogenic drug category in the atccs for a reason! All 'hallucinogenic drugs' are actually drugs of other categories that happen to share a non-categorizational quality, that of provoking hallucinations. Hallucinations should not be the focus of the categorization, as it puts wikipedia less in the context of medical literature and more in the context of those tiny books that were in my high school library, touting the dangers of "club drugs" as though that was an official category. Obviously, an overhaul is needed. Comments, please. Flying Hamster 22:38, 7 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Hmmm I replied to this in a couple of other talk pages (main project, and hallucinogenic drug entry) but somehow lost the edits. Anyway, what I said was, clearly there is a class of drugs that are primarily used in a non-medical context for their hallucinogenic, psychedelic or entheogenic effects, or however else you wish to refer to them. I agree that it could be good to make a clearer distinction between the "classic hallucinogens" (LSD-like) and other hallucination-causing drugs. But I disagree with you if you think they don't deserve a category/entry of their own. In fact, there should be a whole tree descending from "Drugs used in non-medical contexts" or something similar (some would say "recreational drugs", with which I would disagree). The ATCCS is for therapeutic drugs. Equating this to drugs in general is inherently POV. I also disagree with the idea that any given substance "belongs" in a single category, since all drugs have multiple effects and uses. --Rkundalini 06:28, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I agree. Most likely the ATCCS does not consider hallucination to be a therapeutic use. Multiple categories will be necessary, because there are some effects having a wide range of causes (for example, anesthetics comprise a large number of chemically unrelated compounds). Wikipedia is not medical literature, but an encyclopedia, and it should address topics not found in medical literature. --[[User:Eequor|η♀υωρ]] 07:33, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I am not trying to push any particular POV, I don't know if I even have one on the subject. I don't think that my comments equate therapeutic drugs to drugs in general, in fact there are obviously many drugs that are widely considered to have minimal or no therapeutic value. In fact, I don't believe that we are in disagreement to any real extent. I think there may have been a tiny bit of miscommunication in that I am not proposing the abolition of hallucinogen as a category. I agree with Eequor that Wikipedia should address topics outside the realm of medical literature, and I think that there is neccesity for a categorization of hallucinogens due to their social context. The application of this is just confusing, as I mentioned, especially in accounting for drugs with 'hallucinogenic properties' as opposed to classicly defined 'hallucinogens'. DMT is a quintessential 'hallucinogen' and should be categorized based on this context, but it is also a tryptamine, not all of which are hallucinogenic. At the present, DMT is categorized as a "Hallucinogenic Tryptamine", but a dual categorization of DMT as a "Hallucinogen" as well as a "Tryptamine" would be another option. There is currently, as far as I am aware, no "Non-Hallucinogenic Tryptamine" category, and the hallucinogenic nature of many tryptamines is debated, which would cause some problems. These are just examples, but similar organizational problems arise with concern to phenethylamines (currently listed under the "Hallucinogenic Phenethylamines". Keep in mind that I am not proposing that we do away with the term hallucinogen to organize these drugs, but instead that we approach the organizational heirarchy from a social as well as medical perspective. There is going to have to be some kind of format coordination between the listed and unlisted drugs (in the ATCCS). I would propose that we use the ATCCS categories as a base (as suggested above) and group all unlisted drugs into one category. Since all these unlisted drugs are not hallucinogenic, I don't think that hallucinogens should be the name of this group. As to what it should be called, perhaps non-theraputic, or even non-ATCCS? Subcategories could include phenethylamines, tryptamines, etc. To reduce confusion, hallucination could be a seperate organizational structure (a seperate tree, as Rkundalini suggested above), so that if I were to be researching hallucinogens, I could get a list of all hallucinogens, and if I was to research phenethylamines, I could get a list of all phenethylamines, regardless of whether they are hallucinogenic or not. (Amphetamine is a good example of a phenethylamine not widely accepted as being a hallucinogen.) (example: DMT would have a non-ATCCS/tryptamine category as well as a hallucinogen category. These could be seperate boxes on the DMT page.) This way, hallucinogen can be preserved as a defining social categorization, and more precise medical categories can be used without any kind of disconcerting ambiguities. Flying Hamster 19:46, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Yeah I agree with a dual tree, so that drugs might overlap in two categories but it would be a lot easier for the readers of wikipedia (including all of us!) to be able to see that, DMT is both an endogenous/medical tryptamine as well as a recreational hallcinogenic tryptamine Cocoapunk 02:53, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Please could we continue this discussion in one place here: Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Drugs. Cacycle 14:20, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Conversation resumed from Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Drugs.

(This comment is in a response to Cacycle's most recent entry on Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Drugs.) First of all, in your response to Rkundalini, you used your theory on subcategorization to justify your multicategory grouping. I am not arguing that such groupings are not used or that they are neccesarily incorrect. Instead, the manner in which you are proposing their use is of which I have a qualm. I will describe this further at the closing of my argument. You ask me to "forget the hallucinogenic drug entry" and to rely on your interpretation of "the scientific standpoint" in your second paragraph. However, I tend to agree with the established entry, hallucinogenic drug. It gives two definitions, one primary and one secondary. The primary is "Hallucinogenic drugs or hallucinogens are drugs that can alter sensory perceptions, elicit alternate states of consciousness, or cause hallucinations." The secondary is "The broad term "hallucinogen" is often used as a synonym for the class of psychedelics..." The page is organized in a manner that indicates that the second definition of "hallucinogen" is more suitably termed "psychedelics". I believe this page is correct in its organization, because the (widely used) social definition of "hallucinogen" takes precedence over the (unneccesary due to synonymity) medical definition if they are mutually exclusive. Their mutual exclusivity is evidenced by the problem of selfsubcategorization. As perfectly stated above in Rkundalini's post, "...clearly there is a class of drugs that are primarily used in a non-medical context for their hallucinogenic, psychedelic or entheogenic effects..." Because it would be infinitely regressive to have hallucinogen as a subcategory of itself, it creates a serious problem in calling psychedelics hallucinogens (as in hallucinogen definition 2, defined by 5HT2A receptor agonist quality). Although that explanation may have seemed somewhat dense, let me summerize: There are two definitions of hallucinogen, one social and one medical. The medical definition is a subset of the social definition. The social definition has no proper synonyms, whereas the medical definition has a perfect synonym (psychedelic). It is still possible to note the medical definition in the first paragraph of hallucinogenic drug as being synonymous to psychedelic, as to avoid confusion. Furthermore, you attempt to engage, once more, the question of dissociative anesthetics. Please visit these pages if you wish to see what wikipedia's stance on their categories is (as well as many examples of clear anesthetic uses): ketamine, phencyclidine. Their hallucinogenic use is secondary in their description to their anesthetic use. Let me clearly outline my organizational plan: 2 Seperate Trees: Tree (a) and Tree (b) Tree (a) stems from hallucinogens (social def) and has the subcategories roughly as mentioned on hallucinogenic drug. Tree (b) consists of Anatomical_Therapeutic_Chemical_Classification_System when applicable, or specific drug class when not (such as tryptomine or phenethylamine etc.) Flying Hamster 18:14, 10 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I totally agree with you that the current scientific use of the term 'hallucinogenic' for 'psychedelics' is misleading and confusing. Unfortunately we can't change this. As a scientist I would like to see the current scientific system somehow reflected in our categorization because this is the system people have to use if they are searching the primary literature (e.g. using PubMed). And there they will not find their results under 'psychedelics' but under 'hallucinogen'.
I think we should add all these classes of compounds INTO the main tree that is based on the ATCCS system. If we do that at an adequate position under a common category then there might be no reason for two different trees.
Unfortunately, a categorization (that is not just a subcategorization) based on chemical structure is not possible because compounds with similar structure belong to completely different classes (e.g. amphetamine / MDMA / DOM or melatonin / serotonin / AMT / AET).
As for the 'dissociative hallucinogens' I think it makes sense to have this category separated from the 'dissociative anesthetics' under 'anesthetics' even if that creates duplicate entries. The compounds are used in a different context and not all of them are in use as human anesthetics (e.g. PCP and its many analogs, dextromethorphan). BTW, Salvinorin and the kappa opioid agonists might need a separate category in the future, I'm not sure about that yet.
What about something along this line:
  1. Nervous system
    1. Other nervous system drugs
      1. Hallucinogens (general definition) / Hallucinogens (broad definition) / General hallucinogens
        1. Hallucinogens (scientific definition) / Hallucinogens (strict definition) / Psychedelic hallucinogens
          1. Hallucinogenic tryptamines
          2. Hallucinogenic phenethylamines
          3. Hallucinogenic lysergamides
        2. Entactogens
        3. Anticholinergic hallucinogens
        4. Dissociative hallucinogens
        5. Hallucinogenic cannabinoids
          (CB1 agonists, non-hallucinogenic CB2 agonists are under development as therapeutic drugs) - Not signed

There are many opioids with kappa activity (including oxycodone, meperidine, and buprenorphine), however their Mu activity greatly overshadows their kappa receptor activity Cocoapunk 03:29, 12 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Yet, Salvinorin is quite different. One day I believe a seperate categorization will be made for these compounds (not including oxycodone etc.) As far as dissociative hallucinogens vs. dissociative anesthetics are concerned, I agree that a dual reference may be neccesary... they are definitely anesthetic as well as hallucinogenic (in the non-psychedelic sense). I still think that if we go with the single tree system and combine organization by effect with organization by structure, we will run into problems in the future... but I suppose that we can always fix that in the future if it becomes too messy or confusing. For right now, though, there are too many many entries that are either just small stubs or are in states of complete non-existance, so I will spend my time typing individual entries and not worrying about organization. The templates need to be updated as well, as there are many entries that have at least stubs that are not included. Still, there are some nonexistant entries that are linked to by the templates. I will work on this once I am on a computer with a spacebar that is a little less sticky. I hate sticky space bars. Oh, and have you ever seen keyboards where the left half of the spacebar is a backspace? Very annoying. Anyway, I will probably try to update some in the near future. Flying Hamster 15:38, 19 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I think that classification based on use (organ system affected, for example) would be much simpler and easier to follow. If we classify drugs by their chemistries we'll end up with large miscellaneous groups because many agents are chemically diverse or unique. Also, lots have overlapping chemistries -- like the sulfonamides which are used as antibacterial chemotherapeutic agents, diuretics and antidiabetics. The ATC is an excellent way of doing this and there's no reason we can't insert recreational or social use drugs under the neurological classification even though non-therapeutic or illegal ones don't have ATC classification numbers. If ATC is too complicated to be really helpful then somthing more straightforward might be better; the Australian Medicines Handbook splits up drugs by use in a pretty intuitive way. ben

added Chemotherapeutic Agents[edit]

I was doing some AP biology homework when I ready about taxol and i decided why not add it as a category in terms of chemotherapy agents! :)

Personally I dislike the fact that chemotherapy literally just means therapy based on chemical substances, and yet it is being used as a term for a certain class of anti-cancer drugs. But I suppose that is the standard practice and if we try to buck it we may cause unnecessary confusion ... dunno... -- Rkundalini 00:08, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Chemotherapy is the use of a chemical agent to selectively kill certain cells within an organism. The lay use of the word implies anticancer chemotherapy but antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and antiprotozoal chemotherapies are equally valid fields. ben