What is Aspirin?

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Aspirin, or acetylsalicylic acid (IPA: /??s?t?lsæl??s?l?k ?æs?d/) is a salicylate drug, often used as an analgesic to relieve minor aches and pains, as an antipyretic to reduce fever, and as an anti-inflammatory medication. It also has an antiplatelet or “anti-clotting” effect and is used in long-term, low doses to prevent heart attacks, strokes and blood clot formation in people at high risk for developing blood clots. It has also been established that low doses of aspirin may be given immediately after a heart attack to reduce the risk of another heart attack or of the death of cardiac tissue.




The main undesirable side effects of aspirin are gastrointestinal—ulcers and stomach bleeding—and tinnitus, especially in higher doses. In children under 19 years of age, aspirin is no longer used to control flu-like symptoms or the symptoms of chickenpox, due to the risk of Reye’s syndrome.

Aspirin was the first-discovered member of the class of drugs known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), not all of which are salicylates, although they all have similar effects and most have some mechanism of action which involves non-selective inhibition of the enzyme cyclooxygenase. Today, aspirin is one of the most widely used medications in the world, with an estimated 40,000 metric tons of it being consumed each year.

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