• Question: What does C17 H21NO4 stand for

    Asked by 864xygg42 to Gavin, Mark, Roisin on 17 Nov 2016.
    • Photo: Roisin Jones

      Roisin Jones answered on 17 Nov 2016:

      That’s actually a molecular formula rather than a structure, so it actually represents lots of compounds, but there are four with that formula that are of note:

      – Scopolamine, a drug used to treat motion sickness and nausea after operations.
      – Hydromorphinol, a derivative of morphine that has similar effects of sedation and pain-killing.
      – Fenoterol, which is a bronchodilator (opens up your airways) used to treat asthma
      – Cocaine (which you’ve probably heard of!), which is an extract of the coca plant that is a very strong stimulant, and a controlled substance in most countries.

      Hope this answers your question! 🙂

    • Photo: Gavin Coleman

      Gavin Coleman answered on 17 Nov 2016:

      Basically what Roisin said! giving the numbers of each element like that doesn’t necessarily give the resulting structure