Sulfa-drugs as Topic for Secondary School Chemistry – Effects, Side Effects and Structural Causes


  • Roger Deuber Kantonsschule Baden, Seminarstr. 3, CH-5400 Baden, Switzerland;, Email:
  • Urs Leisinger Kantonsschule Zug, Lüssiweg 24, CH-6302 Zug, Switzerland
  • Amadeus Bärtsch Kantonsschule Freudenberg, Gutenbergstrasse 15, CH-8002 Zurich, Switzerland



Antibiotics, Drug design, Education, Enzyme inhibitor, High school chemistry, Molecular modelling, Side effects, Sulfamethoxazole, Sulfanilamide, Sulfonamides, Synthesis


The topic 'Sulfa-Drugs in secondary school chemistry' has been developed in cooperation of three high schools (Kantonsschulen). Three essential aspects are covered that ideally complement each other: 1. The synthesis of sulfamethoxazole – an antibiotic 'without side effects' – as a practical course in a school laboratory; 2. An introduction to the topic 'drug design' with the question of structure, effect and side effects of sulfonamides; 3. A detailed answer to the question of how side effects can be avoided by the design of drugs using molecular modelling. Teaching materials on all topics can be downloaded free of charge from Swisseduc. ch (see box). The article discusses various possible approaches in high school chemistry along the lines of a well-established teaching unit on sulfonamides.




How to Cite

R. Deuber, U. Leisinger, A. Bärtsch, Chimia 2021, 75, 80, DOI: 10.2533/chimia.2021.80.