Aspirin (Molecule of the Month for November 2000)
Acetylsalicylic Acid, Bayer
Acetylsalicylic Acid was originally derived from Salicin the active ingredient in Willow bark. In certain parts of the world Willow bark had been used for centuries in folk medicine. In 1897 Felix Hoffmann, an employee of Fredich Bayer, first prepared aspirin which is now the active ingredient in over 60 over-the-counter medicines. Sometimes the name Bayer is used for this compound owing to their manufacturers name.
This drug is used today to lower fevers and reduce inflammation, especially those caused by rhumatic fever and arthritis.
It will thin the blood and therefore it will, in small doses prevent heart attack, stroke & unstable angina. Because of its ability to thin the blood Acetylsalic Acid will inhibit the formation of blood clots.
It`s most common use is to relieve headaches as well as muscle & joint pain. Acetylsalicylic Acid interferes with the bodys synthesis of specific POSTAGLANDINS. These compounds are produced by almost every tissue in the body and control the substances involved in the transmission of nerve impulses which participate in the body`s defences against infection. Postaglandins have been shown to bring on fever and play a major role in inflammation.
At present other uses of this drug are under investigation such as there usefulness in prevention of certain cancers and dangerously high blood pressure which sometimes can occur in pregnancy. It`s effectiveness in the relief of migranes is currently being looked into.
Formal Chemical Name (IUPAC)
Update by Karl Harrison
(Molecule of the Month for November 2000 )