Dieckman, Lynne M. Department of Chemistry, Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska.
Last reviewed:May 2020
- Discovery of aspirin
- Mechanism of action
- Adverse effects
- Future prospects
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug used to control pain, fever, and inflammation. Aspirin is one of the most prevalent medicines in the world and is used to reduce fever and treat minor aches, pains, and inflammation. Furthermore, it is the only nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is also used in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and strokes, as a result of its ability to inhibit the clotting of blood for a prolonged period of time (4 to 7 days versus only a few hours for other NSAIDs). Aspirin, or acetylsalicylic acid, has the molecular formula C9H8O4 and is composed of three functional groups: an aromatic group (phenyl ring), a carboxylate group (COOH), and an ester (R–O–CO–R′) [see illustration]. See also: Analgesic; Fever; Heart disorders; Inflammation; Medicine; Pain; Pharmacology; Pharmacy
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