A Brief History Of Aspirin’s Long History
Naturally-occurring compounds containing salicyclic acid (similar to modern-day aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid)) have been around for thousands of years, even being used by the ancient Egyptians and Greeks for pain relief and fever reduction.
Synthetic salicyclic acid was first discovered in 1874 but needed a buffer to reduce its effects on the stomach. In the late 1890s, a chemist at Germany’s Bayer created acetylsalicyclic acid that was then used in a powder form that was distributed to physicians for use by patients. The drug became an over-the-counter medication in tablet form in 1915.
Aspirin’s Use In Pain Relief
Aspirin reduces pain by blocking an enzyme that is essential for the inflammatory response process. The use of aspirin for children under two is not recommended because of its possible link to a serious medical condition known as Reye’s syndrome and is not recommended for people with bleeding disorders.
Aspirin’s Use For Heart Patients And Stroke Prevention
In 1948, a California physician first began recommending that his patients take an aspirin per day to reduce the risk of heart attack. It was not until much later that the medical reason that aspirin reduced the risk of heart attack was discovered (aspirin prevents clotting by inhibiting the production of prostoglandins, which are hormones that are responsible for the formation of clots that can lead to heart attacks and strokes), which earned the discoverers the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1982. One of the potential risks of aspirin use: since aspirin reduces clotting, it can cause gastrointestinal bleeding.
In the present day, aspirin is used to prevent heart attacks in men who have had prior heart attacks and in preventing strokes in women. Aspirin use is so widespread that more than one-third of all adults use aspirin regularly and eighty percent of people with heart disease use aspirin on a regular basis. The miracle drug known as aspirin has seen an increase by twenty percent in the number of regular users from 1999 to 2003.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that men between 49 and 79 take aspirin to prevent heart attacks and that women betwen 55 and 79 take aspirin to prevent ischemic strokes (strokes due to clots) so long as the potential benefits outweigh the risks of harm due to gastrointestinal bleeding.
Aspirin’s Potential Cancer Benefits
Three recently published studies raise the hope that aspirin has a protective effect against cancer.
One of the studies that reviewed 34 other studies of daily aspirin users found that they experienced reduced cancer deaths. This study found that cancer deaths that occurred during the study periods in 51 trials showed a reduction of nearly 40% after approximately five years. The study also found that daily aspirin users in six prevention trials had reduced incidence of cancer from three years and thereafter (324 cases for aspirin users versus 421 cases for non-aspirin users).
A second study that reviewed data from five studies of 17,285 patients in the United Kingdom found that those who took a daily aspirin (less than 75 mg of aspirin per day) had a reduced risk of colon cancer, lung cancer, and prostate cancer by 46% and a reduced risk of other cancers such as bladder cancer and kidney cancer by 18%.
The third study reviewed observational studies instead of trials regarding aspirin users and found that the observational studies showed the reduced risk of colorectal cancer by 38% for the aspirin users.
The continuing research into the use of the long-known and inexpensive miracle drug known as aspirin continues to provide hope for and evidence of powerful benefits for those suffering from or who are at risk of developing many modern-day medical scourges.
While aspirin may be the most inspiring miracle drug widely available to people throughout the world today, other more modern and less-studied drugs may have unexpected or unintended consequences that cause severe harm to those who take them.
If you or a loved one were injured as a result of taking a bad drug, you may be entitled to compensation for your suffering and losses. The advice of a medical malpractice attorney may help you decide if you have a viable claim and how you should proceed with your claim.
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