How Aspirin Works Institution Introduction The basic concern in pharmacology is the causal-effect of different drugs. The notion behind it is that every drug must have an effect on the person using it, by exerting an influence on body cells or a component of the cell…
This informs the person about the processes that occur as a result of binding, leading to the drug effect. A renowned scientist, Paul Ehrlich concluded that drugs cannot work unless they are bound (Berges-Gimeno & Stevenson, 2004). This paper outlines how aspirin works starting with a history of the drug, its administration, benefits and the way it works. This is beneficial to patients. An overview of Aspirin’s history Aspirin is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), and it is also known as a salicylate (Berges-Gimeno & Stevenson, 2004). This drug owes its origin to Luke Hoffman who discovered a powder from the bark of willow plant around the fifth century. Hippocrates commonly referred to as the father of medicine appraised the use of the powder in relieving pain. In the 1700s, Reverend Edmund Stone talked about its success in alleviating pain and fevers. Scientists later discovered that the bitter powder from willow bark contained a chemical called salicin. This chemical is converted into salicylic acid once ingested by a person and is widely used to manufacture aspirin. The drug was registered as the most popular painkiller in the world, in the 1950 Guinness Book of Records. It is widely known as a “wonder drug” because it cures several diseases in the contemporary world (Jeffreys, 2005). Administration of aspirin It is usually administered orally through tablets, but it can also be administered through caplets, capsules, liquid elixir and suppositories. Benefits of Aspirin The following are the benefits of aspirin. It; Relieves mild pain such as muscle cramps, toothaches and headaches Controls fever Manages pain in gout and arthritis Reduces swellings Regulates blood pressure in expectant women Treats cataracts in diabetic patients Prevents some cancers such as breast and bowel cancers Treats gum disease (Vane, 1971) How it works Researchers and medical practitioners have found it difficult explain how aspirin works due to its numerous effects (Weissmann, 1991). However, in the 1970s, biologists came to a conclusion regarding how aspirin works. The drug inhibits synthesizing of some hormones responsible for causing pain and inflammation in the body. Aspirin has an active ingredient called acetylsalicylic acid. This ingredient inhibits chemical processes such as physiological processes in the body. It inhibits production of body chemicals referred to as prostaglandin and thromboxane, which are potential mediators in inflammation. Aspirin undergoes esterification whereby salicylic acid is mixed with acetic anhydride. This results in a chemical reaction which turns the hydroxyl group in salicylic acid into an ester (R-OH R-OCOCH3). This is followed by action on COX. The figure below shows this process. Prostaglandins are important because; they Aid in regulation of acid production, in the stomach Ensure the stomach lining does not digest itself Transmit pain into the brain Are responsible for inflammation The mediators are produced from arachidonic acid through bis-oxygenation of arachidonate into prostaglandin PGG2. Thereafter, PGG2 is reduced to PGH2 following a peroxidase reaction which is enhanced by cyclooxygenase, also called PTGS synthase. This is a catalyst and enzyme which is crucial in the synthesis of prostaglandin as well as thromboxane. The cyclooxygenase (COX) comprise of two types; COX-1 and COX-2. Aspirin acts as an irreversible inhibitor unlike other NSAIDs like ibuprofen and diclofenac. It plays the ...
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