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Hearing Care & Optics
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GENERIC NAME: aspirin
BRAND NAMES: Aspirin, Arthritis Foundation Safety Coated Aspirin, Bayer
Aspirin, Bayer Children's Aspirin, Ecotrin, and many others
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Aspirin is a
nonsteroidal anti inflammatory drug
(NSAID) effective in treating fever, pain, and inflammation in the body. It also
prevents blood clots (i.e., is antithrombotic). As a group, NSAIDs are
non-narcotic relievers of mild to moderate pain of many causes, including
headaches, injury, menstrual cramps,
arthritis, and other musculoskeletal
conditions. Other members of this class include ibuprofen (Motrin), indomethacin
(Indocin), nabumetone (Relafen) and several others. They all work by reducing
the levels of prostaglandins, chemicals that are released when there is
inflammation and that cause pain and fever. NSAIDs block the enzyme that makes
prostaglandins (cyclooxygenase), resulting in lower concentrations of
prostaglandins. As a consequence, inflammation, pain, and fever are reduced.
Inhibition of prostaglandins also reduces the function of platelets and the
ability of blood to clot. Aspirin, inhibits the function of platelets in a
manner that is different from other NSAIDs, and its antithrombotic effects last
longer than other NSAIDs. This is why aspirin is used for preventing
attacks and strokes. The FDA approved Bayer aspirin in June 1965.