GENERIC NAME: aspirin
BRAND NAMES: Aspirin, Arthritis Foundation Safety Coated Aspirin, Bayer Aspirin, Bayer Children's Aspirin, Ecotrin, and many others
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Aspirin is a nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug (NSAID) effective in treating fever, pain, and inflammation in the body. It also prevents blood clots (i.e., is antithrombotic). As a group, NSAIDs are non-narcotic relievers of mild to moderate pain of many causes, including
Other members of this class include ibuprofen (Motrin), indomethacin (Indocin), nabumetone (Relafen) and several others. They all work by reducing the levels of prostaglandins, chemicals that are released when there is inflammation and that cause pain and fever. NSAIDs block the enzyme that makes prostaglandins (cyclooxygenase), resulting in lower concentrations of prostaglandins. As a consequence, inflammation, pain, and fever are reduced. Inhibition of prostaglandins also reduces the function of platelets and the ability of blood to clot. Aspirin, inhibits the function of platelets in a manner that is different from other NSAIDs, and its antithrombotic effects last longer than other NSAIDs. This is why aspirin is used for preventing heart attacks and strokes. The FDA approved Bayer aspirin in June 1965.
PRESCRIBED FOR: Aspirin is used for the treatment of inflammation, fever, and pain that results from many forms of arthritis, including
- rheumatoid arthritis,
- juvenile idiopathic arthritis,
- systemic lupus erythematosus,
- ankylosing spondylitis,
- Reiter's syndrome, osteoarthritis, and
- soft tissue injuries, such as tendinitis and bursitis.
Aspirin also is used for rapid relief of mild to moderate pain and fever in other inflammatory conditions. Because aspirin inhibits the function of platelets for prolonged periods of time, it is used for reducing the risk of strokes and heart attacks in people who have already had a stroke or heart attack.
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