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Acetylsalicylic acid

Acetylsalicylic acid

See also NSAID

Generic and Trade Names:

Aspirin         Ascriptin, Bufferin, Ecotrin


This is the basic antiinflammatory, antipyretic analgesic against which all others are compared. Originally found in tree bark, it has been synthesized and is also found in combination with other drugs e.g. Darvon. These agents lower temperature through vasodilation of peripheral vessels, thereby causing excess heat to dissipate. It's anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects are mediated through prostaglandin inhibition. Aspirin, has greater anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects than other salicylates. (Facts and Comparisons 1999)

Nutritional Considerations:

Take with food or milk to avoid stomach upset. (Facts and Comparisons 1999)

Aspirin, for example, increases urinary excretion of vitamin C. Decreased vitamin status with respect to vitamin C as well as folate have been noted. There may also be extensive bleeding both with salicylates and other NSAIDs. An associated condition is anemia. (Pronsky 1999)

Limit high-protein foods (Aspirin can elevate blood urea and precipitate attacks of gout). (Sloan 1982)

Possible vitamin deficiencies include:
vitamin B-complex ( notably B-12 and Folic acid) and vitamin C. (Pronsky 1999)

Herbal Considerations:

Herbs such as Juniper,guar, gymnema, nettle, onion plant, prickly pear cactus, queen of the meadow, red raspberry plant, saw palmetto and yerba mate may interact with salicylates. (Blumenthal 1998)(Newall 1996)

The weak antithrombotic effect of garlic plant, ginger or onion plant may be increased by concomitant administration of salicylates. (Newall 1996)

Licorice root reduces aspirin absorption and protects gastric mucosa against aspirin toxicity. (Brinker 1998)

Due to presence of salicylates, meadowsweet and European poplar may potentiate the effects of other anticoagulant agents, such as aspirin, and heparin. (Kudriashov 1990)

Precautions associated with salicylate therapy are equally applicable to willow. Willow should not be taken along with salicylate drugs. (Janssen 1997)


Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Brinker, F Herb Contraindications and Drug Interactions, Eclectic Medical Publications, 1999.

Baron SH: Salicylates as hypoglycemic agents. Diabetes Care 1982; 5:64-71.

Deykin D, Janson P & McMahon L: Ethanol potentiation of aspirin induced prolongation of the bleeding time. N Engl J Med 1982; 306:852-854.

Doutremeupuich, C et al., Aspirin at very ultra low dosage in healthy volunteers. Haemostasis, 1990, 20:99-105.

Doutremeupuich, C et al., Effects of ultra-low dose aspirin on embolization in a model of laser-induced thrombosus formation. Seminars in thrombosis and hemostasis. 1996, 22, Supp 1.

Facts and Comparisons, Clinisphere 2.0, Wolters Kluwer Company, 1999.

Gaspari F, Vigano G, Tocatelli M et al: Influence of antacid administrations on aspirin absorption in patients with chronic renal failure on maintenance hemodialysis. Am J Kidney Dis 1988; 11:338-342.

Goulston K & Cooke AR: Alcohol, aspirin, and gastrointestinal bleeding. Br Med J 1968; 4:664.

Hansten PD & Hayton WL: Effect of antacid and ascorbic acid on serum salicylate concentration. J Clin Pharmacol 1980; 20:326-331.

Janssen PL: Acetylsalicylate and salicylates in foods. Cancer Lett, 1997 Mar, 114:1-2, 163-4.

Kudriashov BA, Liapina LA, Azieva LD. The content of a heparin-like anticoagulant in the flowers of the meadowsweet. Farmakol Toksikol. 1990 Jul-Aug;53(4):39-41. Russian.

Lieberman, S. & Bruning, N.: The Real Vitamin & Mineral Book. Avery, NY.

Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-care Professionals. London: The Pharmaceutical Press, 1996

Rees, W, Rhodes, J., Wright, J., et al. Effect of deglycyrrhizinated liquorice on gastric mucosal damage by aspirin. Scand J Gastroent (I 979): 605-607.

Roine R, Gentry RT, Hernandez-Munoz R et al: Aspirin increases blood alcohol concentrations in humans after ingestion of ethanol. JAMA 1990; 264:2406-2408.

Sloan RW. Hyperuricemia and gout. J Fam Pract. 1982 May;14(5):923-6, 930-1, 934. Review.

Yu TF & Gutman AB: Study of the paradoxical effects of salicylate in low, intermediate and high dosage on the renal mechanisms for excretion of urate in man. J Clin Invest 1959; 38:1298-1315.


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