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Acetylsalicylic acid

Clinical Definition

Acetylsalicylic acid, also known as aspirin, is classified as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pharmaceutical agent. It contains salicylic acid, the active metabolite that inhibits prostaglandins.

Acetylsalicylic acid is used as an antipyretic and analgesic. It is also sometimes prescribed as antiplatelet agent in order to reduce the risk of a myocardial infarction and cerebrovascular accident.

In Our Own Words

Acetylsalicylic acid — typically referred to as aspirin — is a common over-the-counter medication used to treat inflammation, pain and fever. It works by decreasing the effects of prostaglandins (i.e., chemicals in the body that influence pain signals).

Aspirin also thins the blood. Because of this clot-preventing property and subsequent higher risk of heart attack or stroke, low-dose aspirin is sometimes recommended.

Symptoms and Side Effects

  • Bleeding
  • Stomach discomfort/nausea
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