Aspirin

1897

Aspirin

The book of science

Tom Sharp

Arthur Eichengrün, Felix Hoffmann pharmacology

Aspirin

War reparation

Take two aspirin

In today’s regulatory environment, because of its gastrointestinal side-effects, acetylsalicylic acid might would not likely be approved as an over-the-counter medicine. Although there are numerous alternative non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, including natural ones such as figwort (which has almost no side effects), aspirin remains the most widely used.

How aspirin works remained a mystery until 1971, when John Robert Vane, showed aspirin “suppressed the production of prostaglandins and thromboxanes.” Prostaglandins are cell messengers and have many roles in the body, such as causing constriction and dilation of muscle cells, aggregating platlets, and regulating inflammation; thromboxanes help form blood clots.

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