This review article-a revised version of an introductory lecture in the Microsymposium on the Application of Polarography in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Pharmacology within the J. Heyrovský Memorial Congress on Polarography, 1980-deals with the recent development of the applicability of polarographic and voltammetrić methods in the above-mentioned disciplines. First, the history of using these methods in pharmaceutical analysis is described up to the introduction of pulse methods. The areas or problems where they can be applied are discussed-such as their use in various pharmacopoeias-and the sensitivity both of classical d.c. polarography and that of differential-pulse polarography. Next, the electroactivity of organic compounds is treated, and the advantages of polarographic and voltammetric procedures over other methods. The functionalization of electroinactive compounds for polarographic analysis, new voltammetric electrodes and, in particular, the combination of polarography (or voltammetry) with chromatographic separations are dealt with in detail. It follows a critical assessment of the use of a.c. polarography in pharmaceutical analysis and that of the correlations between polarographic constants and physiological activity. The article concludes with a summary of probable future developments in this area. The review is followed by two more specialized papers by H. Oelschläger and M.A. Brooks. © 1983 Elsevier Sequoia S.A.
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