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Aspirin – The Salicylate Fix

by Kazeem Olalekan MRPharmS

This is a play on the word ‘fix’ to make a serious point in relation to Aspirin. Fix as defined by Dictionary.com (1) has 26 definition for the verb – ‘fix’, and 6 definition for noun ‘fix’. Four of these are listed below:

– verb (used with object)

1. to repair; mend.

2. to put in order or in good condition; adjust or arrange: She fixed her hair in a bun.

3. to make fast, firm, or stable.

4. to place definitely and more or less permanently: to fix a circus poster to a wall.

What are the relationships between these definitions of fix and Aspirin?

About Aspirin

Aspirin®, or acetylsalicylic acid is a salicylate drug often used as an analgesic (to relieve minor aches and pains), antipyretic (to reduce fever), and as an anti-inflammatory. It also has an antiplatelet (“blood-thinning”) effect and is used in long-term, low doses to prevent heart attacks and blood clot formation in people at high risk for developing blood clots.[2]. The 3 dimensional illustration of the drug is shown below (figure 1).

Figure 1
Structure of Aspirin

The Salicylate ‘fix’

1–to repair, mend

Say you have just had a bad flu. You have all the classic symptoms[3]:

  • Fever
  • Sweating and Feeling feverish
  • General aches and pains
  • A feeling of general tiredness
  • Dry chesty cough
  • Sneezing
  • Running or blocked nose
  • Difficulty sleeping, and
  • Sore throat.

Soluble Aspirin to gaggle may help with sore throat. Aspirin, taken at the right dose, may help alleviate the symptoms of fever, sweating and general aches and pains – before you know it, you will be on the mend (or on the path to repair).

2–to put in order or in good condition; adjust or arrange

When taken in low doses, Aspirin can reduce your chance of dying if you are at a high risk of coronary artery disease or have already had coronary artery disease; It can also reduce risk of stroke in those with previous stroke or transient ischeamic attack [4].

Asprin can therefore put you in a good [healthy] condition. It does this by adjusting the way blood clots in the body [or re-arranging the clotting process]

3–to make fast, firm, or stable

Have you had a stenting procedure?  Well, a stent is is a wire metal mesh tube used to prop open an artery during angioplasty [5,6]. Aspirin used in combination with other antiplatelets are effective at suppressing platelet activation after coronary stenting[7,8].

Aspirin, thus, help maintain the patency of coronary arteries for longer, therefore reducing the risks of cardiovascular complications. Aspirin is important in stabilizing, making firm or fast; the coronary arteries after stenting.

4–to place definitely and more or less permanently

Knowing how Aspirin exerts its antiplatelet effect is relevant here. Aspirin produces permanent (competitive and irreversible) inhibition of the cyclo-oxygenasepathway thus reducing production of thromboxane A2, prostaglandinE2, and prostacyclin [9].

Recent research reported in the Lancet claims that low dose aspirin reduces risk of death from range of cancers (link). I now have patients coming to me for a salicylate fix. My advise: You need to balance the risk between benefit and harm of treatment. Aspirin benefits those at risk of cardiovascular diseases and may have beneficial effect on some cancers but benefit on healthy subjects remain unclear.  It also caries the risk of internal bleeding (link). Assessment of risk is therefore desirable before initiation of treatment with Aspirin.

REFERENCES

1) Dictionary.com – http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/fix

2) Aspirin – Wikipedia – The free encyclopedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspirin

3) Flu Introduction – Health Encyclopedia – NHS Direct – http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Flu/Pages/Symptoms.aspx

4) Low-Dose Aspirin Therapy – Topical Overview – http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/tc/low-dose-aspirin-therapy-topic-overview

5) Stent Procedure – http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4721

6) Angioplasty with stent placement for heart attack and unstable angina – http://www.ivillage.com/angioplasty-stent-placement-heart-attack-and-unstable-angina/4-y-100458

7) Antiplatelet effect of ticlopidine after coronary stenting – http://content.onlinejacc.org/cgi/content/abstract/29/7/1515

8) Intracoronary Stent Implantation Without Ultrasound Guidance and With Replacement of Conventional Anticoagulation by Antiplatelet Therapy – http://circ.ahajournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/94/7/1519

9) Aspirin – Wikipedia – The free encyclopedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspirin#Mechanism_of_action

3 Comments
  1. very clever!!!

  2. Aspirin use may cut bowel cancer deaths by a third, study suggests. http://www.pjonline.com/news/aspirin_use_may_cut_bowel_cancer_deaths_by_a_third_study_suggests [Source: British Journal of Cancer: http://www.nature.com/bjc/journal/v106/n9/full/bjc2012101a.html%5D

    ——————-

    Taking aspirin to prevent cancer
    ( http://www.npc.nhs.uk/rapidreview/?p=5001 )
    NPC Rapid Review

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