In most countries, Aspirin is a trademark of Bayer Pharmaceuticals. But following WWII the U.S.A. refused to acknowledge German trademarks, so in the States it's a generic drug. Elsewhere the generic version is known as A.S.A..

Aspirin, or acetylsalicylic acid, is a common drug, originally made by the Bayer company in Germany as a synthetic version of salicylic acid, which is found in the bark of willow trees and was once used as a pain reliever.

In addition to reducing pain, aspirin is used to treat inflammation and fevers. It also prevents blood from clotting and improves circulation, and can be an effective treatment for the prevention of heart attacks and strokes.

Hippocrates actually knew the effects of “aspirin”. There are historical records dating to his time (between 460 B.C.E. and 377 B.C.E) that indicate the usage of a pain reliever that was made from the bark and leaves of the willow tree. In 1829, scientists discovered that a certain compound found in the willow tree, called salicin, is what promotes pain relief. There was a problem in that the salicylic acid in the willow plant made ingesting this compound tough on the stomach. In 1899, a German chemist, Felix Hoffman, discovered how to weaken the effects of this strong acid without a reduction in pain relief power. Hoffman then sold his new drug to Bayer. When aspirin was first marketed, it was in the form of a powder. In 1915, Bayer produced the first aspirin tablet, and the rest, they say, is history.


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Pharmacologic Class:
Non-narcotic analgesic, antipyretic, anti-inflammatory agent.

Brand Names/AKA:
Acetylsalicylic acid, ASA or Aspirin

It is commonly used to treat aches of the head, joints, and muscles, and to prevent coronary and cerebrovascular events. It is also used to reduce fevers, inflammations, and swelling. For this reason it is used as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, rheumatoid fever, and mild infections. It is sometimes used as an additive in food, animal feed, drugs, and cosmetics.

Creates antipyretic effects by acting on the hypothalamus to promote sweating and dilation of peripheral blood vessels to dissipate heat. Anti-inflammatory effects are believed to be the result of cyclo-oxygenase inhibition, which decreases synthesis of prostaglandin (which is believed to be part of the inflammation process).

It should not be used by children with viral illnesses or a risk of Reye's Syndrome, or by people with gout or active peptic ulcer disease, or by people who have a hypersensitivity to it. It causes inhibition of platelet aggregation for the lifetime of the platelets exposed (8-10 days). Also, the dust can cause irritation in the eyes and respiratory tract.

ASA should probably not be mixed with strong oxidising agents, strong bases, strong acids, iodides, iron salts, quinine salts, acetazolamide, ethyl alcohol, recombinant alteplase, oral anticoagulants, antirheumatics, beta-adrenergic blocking agents, activated charcoal, corticosteroids, dipyridamole, furosemide, garlic, ginko biloba, ginseng, heparin, oral hypoglycemics, indomethacin, insulin, methionine, methotrexate, nitoglycerin, phenylbutazone, phenytoin, probenecid, spironolactone, sulfinpyrazone, or sulfonamides. YMMV, IANAD.

Additional Information:
Acetylsalicylic Acid is an acetyl derivative of salicylic acid. It is a white, crystalline, weakly acidic substance. Dosages of greater than 10mg/dl provide an analgesic effect, while doses larger than 50mg/dl are used for anti-inflammatory effects. Doses above 80 are considered overdoses, and can cause tinnitus, hyperventilation, fever, metabolic acidosis, coma, cardiovascular instability, renal failure, and respiratory failure. In some cases, acetaminophen (Tylenol) is substituted for ASA.

Thanks to ponder for a correction to my ASCII art.

As"pi*rin (?), n. (Pharm.)

A white crystalline compound of acetyl and salicylic acid used as a drug for the salicylic acid liberated from it in the intestines.


© Webster 1913.

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