Vol. 6 No. 1 (2022)
Research Articles

Is the Second Law of Thermodynamics Able to Classify Drugs?

Laurent Schwartz
Assistance Publique des Hôpitaux de Paris, Paris France
Luc Benichou
Jules Schwartz
Assistance Publique des Hôpitaux de Paris, Paris France
Maxime Pontié
Université d'Angers, Faculté des Sciences, Groupe Analyses et Procédés, Angers, France
Marc Henry
Institut Le Bel, Université de Strasbourg/CNRS, Strasbourg, France

Published 2022-03-07


  • Pharmacology,
  • Alzheimer,
  • psychiatry,
  • cancer,
  • entropy,
  • pH,
  • mitochondria,
  • lactic acid,
  • paradigm shift
  • ...More

How to Cite

Schwartz, L., Benichou, L., Schwartz, J., Pontié, M., & Henry, M. (2022). Is the Second Law of Thermodynamics Able to Classify Drugs?. Substantia, 6(1), 37–47. https://doi.org/10.36253/Substantia-1364


Specialization characterizes pharmacology, with the consequence of classifying the various treatments into unrelated categories. Treating a specific disease usually requires the design of  a specific drug. The second law of thermodynamics is the driving force both for chemical reactions and for life. It applies to diseases and treatment. In most common diseases, there is a metabolic shift toward anabolism and anaerobic glycolysis, resulting in the release of entropy in the form of biomass. In accordance with the second principle of thermodynamics, treatment should aim at decreasing the entropy flux, which stays inside the body in the form of biomass. Most treatments aim at increasing the amount of entropy that is released by the cell in the form of thermal photons. As clinically different diseases often requires similar drugs, this calls for reinforcement in a quest for a single unified framework. For example, treatment of aggressive autoimmune diseases requires the same cytotoxic chemotherapy than for cancer. This strongly suggests that despite their apparent disparity, there is an underlying unity in the diseases and the treatments. The shift toward increased entropy release in the form of heat offers sound guidelines for the repurposing of drugs.


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