Aspirin - the benefits and harm to the body
Acetylsalicylic acid was first synthesized in the middle of the XIX century. For medical use, the drug was obtained in the laboratory of the German company Bayer AG in 1897. From here he began his triumphant march, called "Aspirin". The primary raw material for it was willow bark. Currently, aspirin is produced by chemical means. At first, only the antipyretic effect of the drug was known. Then, during the twentieth century, physicians discovered its new properties.
For a long time, aspirin was considered absolutely safe and even recommended to be taken as a preventive measure. Today, the opinions of doctors on this issue are divided. What is the benefit and harm of aspirin? How to use it and who should not be treated with acetylsalicylic acid? Is aspirin poisoning possible?
How does aspirin
Today, acetylsalicylic acid is studied thoroughly. Accumulated extensive experience in clinical trials. The drug belongs to the most important drugs and is included in the list of irreplaceable drugs both in Russia and on the recommendations of the WHO.
Such popularity of acetylsalicylic acid is explained by the fact that with a minimum of side effects it has antipyretic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antirheumatic and antiaggregant effects. The drug belongs to the group of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. It inhibits the synthesis of thromboxanes and prostaglandins, and, unlike other drugs from this group (diclofenac, ibuprofen), makes it irreversible.
- The antipyretic property of aspirin is based on the effect of the drug on the thermoregulation center in the brain. Under the influence of acetylsalicylic acid, the vessels expand and sweating increases, which leads to a decrease in body temperature.
- The analgesic effect is achieved as a direct effect on the mediators in the area of inflammation, and the effect on the central nervous system.
- Antiplatelet effect - blood thinning, due to the effect on platelets. Aspirin prevents them from sticking together and forming blood clots.
- The anti-inflammatory effect is achieved by reducing the permeability of small vessels in the inflammatory focus, inhibiting the synthesis of inflammatory factors, and restricting access to cell energy resources.
Acetylsalicylic acid is available in tablets; abroad - in powders and candles. On the basis of salicylates created many drugs with a similar effect. Also produced a large number of combined drugs: "Citramon", "Askofen", "Kofitsil", "Acelisin", "Asfen" and others.
Indications for use of acetylsalicylic acid are as follows:
- fever in infectious and inflammatory diseases;
- low and medium intensity pains of various origins (headache, myalgia, neuralgia);
- primary and secondary prevention of myocardial infarction;
- prevention of blood clots and emboli;
- rheumatism and rheumatoid arthritis;
- myocarditis of infectious and allergic origin;
- prevention of circulatory disorders in the brain of the ischemic type.
How to take aspirin? For long-term treatment, the doctor must prescribe medication. Doses are selected individually, since the therapeutic range is quite wide.
Adult patients are prescribed from 40 mg to 1 g at the reception. Daily dosage ranges from 150 mg to 8 grams. Take aspirin 2-6 times a day, after meals. Tablets need to crush and drink plenty of water or milk. To reduce the negative effects on the gastric mucosa with long-term treatment with aspirin, it is recommended to drink it with alkaline mineral waters.
If the medicine is taken without medical supervision, then the duration of the course should not exceed 7 days as an analgesic and 3 days as an antipyretic.
Is aspirin harmful? Of course, like any medicine, it has its own contraindications:
- ulcers of the stomach and intestines;
- bleeding in the organs of the gastrointestinal tract;
- previously observed allergic reactions to acetylsalicylic acid;
- low platelet count in the blood;
- vitamin K deficiency;
- portal hypertension;
- stratifying aortic aneurysm;
- first and third trimesters of pregnancy;
- liver failure;
- renal failure;
- before surgery.
The drug is used with caution in patients prone to the accumulation of uric acid in the body (gout). Even in small doses, aspirin delays the withdrawal of this substance, which can cause a gout attack.
The drug can cause harm and the wrong dosage or as a result of interaction with other drugs. The negative effect on the body of aspirin is the following factors.
- Salicylates affect the gastric mucosa and can cause ulceration.
- Reducing blood coagulability under certain conditions leads to bleeding in the stomach and intestines, during surgical interventions, with heavy menstruation.
- Aspirin has a teratogenic effect on the developing fetus (causes deformities), therefore it is forbidden to use in pregnant women.
- In acute viral diseases in children under 12–15 years of age, such as measles, smallpox, and flu, aspirin treatment can provoke hepatic encephalopathy (a disease that destroys liver and brain cells). Pathology was first described in the United States and was called Reye's syndrome.
Sometimes doctors prescribe "Aspirin Cardio" during pregnancy. This is usually done in order to reduce blood clotting or prevent heart disease. In this case, it is necessary to weigh the benefits of the drug and the possible harm from it in relation to the mother and child.
It is forbidden to combine aspirin and alcohol. This combination is fraught with gastric bleeding. But in case of a hangover syndrome, aspirin is taken as an anesthetic and blood thinning agent, it is a part of many pharmaceutical drugs for hangovers.
Acetylsalicylic acid can cause bronchial asthma allergies. The symptom complex is called the “aspirin triad” and includes bronchospasm, polyps in the nose, and intolerance to salicylates.
The benefits of aspirin and harm - what more?
In the discussion on the benefits and harms of aspirin, various facts are voiced. Thus, according to studies conducted in the United States, regular aspirin use reduces the risk of development:
- bowel cancer by 40%;
- prostate cancer by 10%;
- lung cancer by 30%;
- oncology of the throat and esophagus by 60%.
According to other data, people aged 50 to 80 years who are prone to heart disease with regular use of acetylsalicylic acid prolong their lifespan, and the mortality rate from these diseases is 25% lower compared with the control group.
Cardiologists claim that the benefits of taking aspirin in cardiovascular pathologies are immeasurably greater than the possible harm. This largely applies to menopausal women, in whom the drug improves circulation, reduces the likelihood of thrombosis and the risk of atherosclerosis.
At the same time, there are alarming publications. According to a group of researchers in the US, more than 16 thousand people die each year from the uncontrolled use of aspirin. Finnish doctors have published data suggesting that taking acetylsalicylic acid doubles the mortality rate after cerebral hemorrhage (compared with those patients who did not use aspirin). Historical researchers have put forward the theory that the high mortality rate from the “Spanish flu” in 1918 is associated with the massive use of aspirin in large doses (10–30 g each).
What more in aspirin - good or harm? As any drug, acetylsalicylic acid should be consumed only if there are indications for its use. In case of a number of diseases: increased blood clotting, tendency to thrombosis, impaired cardiac performance - taking aspirin for a long time is fully justified. The dose should be discussed with your doctor, he will prescribe studies that control the side effects of the drug.
You can not take acetylsalicylic acid, if there are contraindications: pregnancy, children under 15 years of age, acute viral diseases with a high temperature, ulcerative lesions of the stomach and intestines. It is forbidden to combine the intake of aspirin and alcoholic beverages, as this combination enhances the negative effect of the drug on the gastric mucosa and can lead to ulceration and bleeding.