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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Aspirin use from Headache to Cancer

Posted by Prahallad Panda on 5:03 PM Comments

While I was pursuing undergraduate course in medicine in early 80s, aspirin was available in combination with phenacetin and caffeine as APC tablet; used for treatment of headache associates with common cold. It was also being used in rheumatic fever with very good effect. Subsequently, its use in headache was abandoned seeing the gastrointestinal side effects; bleeding episodes and black stool.

Towards late 80s, it was available for treatment of brain stroke as a clot resolving and blood thinning agent. Somehow, though its use continued for rheumatic fever, other uses almost discontinued for the same reason and when used watched carefully for the adverse effects. Gradually, gastro protective drugs in form of histamine blockers and proton pump inhibitors come up for use and prescribed along with these analgesic and anti-inflammatory drugs to minimize their side effects. Again towards, perhaps late 90s, aspirin came back strongly as a blood thinning agents to be used in low dosages in heart stroke. It is also said that in a situation of acute heart attack, if nothing is available; an aspirin to be given under the tongue to minimize the damages to heart muscle in a heart attack; and still this advice olds good. Late 90s and early 2000 saw a lot of research on the aspirin, and now researchers say that it has a lot of beneficial effects sans the adverse gastro intestinal effects. It is said that aspirin may be helpful in
Preventing recurrence of breast cancer,
Preventing papilloma in colon, which is a precursor of cancer colon and
Preventing atherosclerosis and heart attack.
Perhaps a lot more will come up in future. Cannot researchers stop or take out its adverse effects and make it safe to use?      

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