Byfield doctor who invented ibuprofen and knew it worked when it cured his hangover dies at 95

Dr Stewart Adams at the unveiling of one of his two blue plaques from the Royal Society of Chemistry (Picture: Samuel Kirby for Boots)
Dr Stewart Adams at the unveiling of one of his two blue plaques from the Royal Society of Chemistry (Picture: Samuel Kirby for Boots)

Dr Stewart Adams OBE was first up to speak at an event but before taking the stage, he took a 600mg dose of ibuprofen - a drug he helped create - because he "had a bit of a headache after a night out with friends".

And it worked. His head cleared and he was able to effectively deliver his speech, he told the BBC in 2015.

Dr Stewart Adams in 1970 (Picture: Boots UK)

Dr Stewart Adams in 1970 (Picture: Boots UK)

This discovery of the hangover cure was a result of 10 years of trials in which ibuprofen was developed by Northamptonshire's Dr Adams when he was part of the research department at Boots.

"I'd been out celebrating with colleagues at a European conference in 1971 and I was due to speak first the next morning," said Dr Adams, in a 2007 interview with the Daily Telegraph.

"And, well, I had a hangover, so I took 600mg of ibuprofen. That was testing the drug in anger, if you like. But I hoped it really could work magic.

"It's funny now, but over the years so many people have told me that ibuprofen really works for them – and did I know it was so good for hangovers? Of course, I had to admit I did."

Dr Stewart Adams, Dr John Nicholson and Mr R Cobb studying degrees of inflammation using a colour intensity measuring device at Boots (Picture: Boots UK)

Dr Stewart Adams, Dr John Nicholson and Mr R Cobb studying degrees of inflammation using a colour intensity measuring device at Boots (Picture: Boots UK)

The 95-year-old was born in Byfield in 1923 and his son Chris, who lives in Nottingham, confirmed his father had died on Wednesday.

After leaving school at 16, Dr Adams joined a retail pharmacy run by Boots as an apprentice.

This led to a degree in pharmacy at the University of Nottingham and a PhD in pharmacology at Leeds University.

In 1952, Dr Adams started work at Boots Pure Drug Company's research department and he remained with Boots UK for the rest of his career where he became head of pharmaceutical sciences.

Seb James, Boots' senior vice president and managing director said: "I and all at Boots UK are deeply saddened to hear of the death of Dr Stewart Adams.

"Dr Adams made an extraordinary contribution towards numerous scientific discoveries but will be forever remembered for his pioneering research which led to the discovery of ibuprofen during his time at Boots.

"The numerous accolades which he received, including an OBE in 1987 and an Honorary Freeman of the City of Nottingham are testament to the significance of his work and a fitting tribute to the man who undoubtedly put Nottingham on the global map of scientific discoveries.

"We would like to offer our deepest condolences to the family at this sad time."

Dr Adams had been honoured for his research, with an honorary doctorate of science from the University of Nottingham and two blue plaques from the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Professor Kevin Shakesheff, from the University of Nottingham, said: "He is remembered for his successes in creating one of the most important painkillers in world but, as with many inspirational people, he had to bounce back from failures in earlier clinical trials before he and his team created ibuprofen.

"His life is a reminder to everyone in Nottingham that we can change the world through the work we do in our local companies, hospitals and universities."In his 2015 interview with BBC, he said he was most pleased with the fact that hundreds of millions of people worldwide are now taking the drug he discovered."

Work began to develop a drug to treat rheumatoid arthritis with no side effects in the 1950s.

In 1961, a patent for ibuprofen was filed and in 1966 clinical trials took place in Edinburgh and its anti-inflammatory effect was seen in patients.

The drug was launched in the UK on prescription alone in 1969 and became available over the counter because of its safety record in 1983.