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The mechanism of aspirin 

The mechanism of aspirin
Chapter:
The mechanism of aspirin
Author(s):

Pierre Sirois

, and Pedro D’Orléans-Juste

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198834359.003.0015
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date: 19 October 2020

Aspirin has been used for the treatment of pain and inflammation for more than a hundred years; however, the medical use of what we now called aspirin dates back to antiquity, since willow-tree extracts containing salicylates were described in the Egyptian pharmacopoeia around 1543 bc. In 1971, Sir John Vane and his collaborators discovered its mechanism of action. This discovery has generated tremendous interest into the beneficial effect of this drug for the treatment of pain, inflammation, many inflammatory diseases, and even cancers. Vane and his collaborators also tested a number of other well-known aspirin-like drugs, or NSAIDs (for non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs), and found that they all inhibited to a different extent the release of prostaglandins from organs as well as from tissue homogenates.

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