Asprin and the Stomach

Topics: Aspirin, Cyclooxygenase, Peptic ulcer Pages: 3 (1005 words) Published: April 14, 2013
C9H8O4 Effects on the Lining of the Stomach

The drug known as aspirin was introduced in Europe in 1899 by a German chemist named Felix Hoffman who developed it as a treatment for his father’s arthritis. To manufacture aspirin Hoffman combined salicylic acid and acetic acid, the result was called acetylsalicylic acid (Research, 2009). A lot of time has passed since then, but aspirin is still used today to relieve many kinds of minor aches and pains including, but not limited to: headaches, toothaches, muscle pain, menstrual cramps, joint pains associated with arthritis, and the general achiness that many people experience with colds and flu. Some people take aspirin daily to reduce the risk of stroke, heart attack, or other heart problems (Research, 2009). Aspirin is classified as a NSAID, or Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. They are the most prescribed medications for treating conditions having to do with aches and inflammation. Most people are familiar with the over-the-counter versions of nonprescription NSAIDs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen. NSAIDs work by preventing cyclooxygenase (COX) in its two forms COX-1 or COX-2, from doing their jobs in the body (University, 2010). The COX enzymes are responsible for producing prostaglandins, which are a family of chemicals that have several important functions. They promote inflammation, pain, and fever; support the blood clotting function of platelets; and protect the lining of the stomach from the damaging effects of acid. Traditional NSAIDs, such as aspirin, reduce prostaglandins in the body and block the actions of both COX-1 and COX-2 (University, 2010). This is why they reduce inflammation, pain and fever, but it is also why NSAIDs can promote bleeding and cause ulcers in the stomach. The second major cause for ulcers is irritation of the stomach arising from regular use NSAIDs, such as aspirin. The American College of Gastroenterology says that when aspirin is used on a regular basis, serious damage...
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