How Does Aspirin Work?


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Kath Senior answered
Aspirin is a pain killing drug. It is acetylsalicylic acid and is derived from the white willow tree, Salix alba. It was developed in the late 19th century as a household remedy for aches and pains and is still going strong today, despite competition from paracetamol and ibuprofen.

Aspirin relieves pain and reduces inflammation and fever. It is also an anticoagulant and is recommended for people at increased risk of heart attack, thrombosis and stroke. It 'thins' the blood making it less likely that a clot will form that can block a blood vessel in the heart or brain.

Aspirin was first refined from salicylic acid by the German chemist Felix Hoffman and marketed for the first time in 1899. Early preparations were tough on the stomach and modern aspirin's worst side effect is still on the stomach. It can cause stomach bleeding and should always be taken with food to lessen its unpleasant gastric effects.

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