It’s hard to believe, but scientists developed aspirin more than 100 years ago. It’s still one of the most widely used medications worldwide today even being referred to as the aspirin miracle drug.
To be precise, German research chemist Felix Hoffman developed aspirin 122 years ago in 1897. Hoffman found a way to synthesize acetylsalicylic acid (ASA), a compound found naturally in plants such as the willow tree, and started testing it.
People considered aspirin a miracle drug at the time. There were no other drugs as effective as aspirin at treating pain and inflammation. Over the years, scientists discovered more about how aspirin works and the number of conditions it can treat. It’s still considered a miracle drug.
Here are some of the reasons why aspirin is one of the most important medical discoveries to date:
How Does Aspirin Work?
When you injure yourself or have a chronic condition, you feel pain in the affected area. This is because the nerves in the injured area send electrical signals to your brain.
Those signals then travel to the part of your brain that processes physical sensations. Your brain then makes you feel pain to make you aware of the injury.
Aspirin is part of a class of drugs known as Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs work by blocking the effects of certain enzymes that send pain signals to your brain.
Fewer pain signals sent to your brain means your brain processes less of a pain response. Aspirin is also an antipyretic. This means it’s effective at reducing swelling and inflammation in injured areas, too.
Another way aspirin acts in the body is by reducing blood clotting. When you bleed, blood cells clot to stem the bleeding. Clotting can be dangerous and can restrict the supply of blood to your heart. Aspirin disrupts clotting by thinning your blood, making it an effective treatment to prevent clot-related strokes or a heart attacks.
What Conditions Does Aspirin Treat?
The wide range of uses and the effectiveness of aspirin are what make it such a miracle drug. There are so many uses from such a tiny, inexpensive pill. Here are some of the many conditions commonly treated with aspirin:
● General inflammation
● Joint inflammatory disease
● Preventing blood clotting
● Rheumatic fever
● Preventing strokes and heart attacks
● Constricting chest pain
● Painful periods
● Myocardial reinfarction prevention
● Kawasaki disease.
Why Do People Still Consider Aspirin a Miracle Drug 100 Years Later?
Few cures or medical discoveries earn the title of “miracle.” Aspirin, however, played such an important role in the development of other drugs. It’s very accessible and inexpensive. It saves countless lives every year. Additionally, it saves the healthcare sector billions of dollars every year.
So, the term “miracle” is appropriate for aspirin. Few other drugs did so much in the last 100 years.
Here are some of the key benefits of aspirin that make it a miracle drug:
It’s inexpensive. One of the benefits of aspirin is how inexpensive it is. Cost is a restriction for some drugs. When it comes down to saving lives, this is always a tough reality. Aspirin costs less than $10 for 36 tablets, making it accessible to everyone all over the world.
It has a wide range of uses. Besides the common uses listed above, it’s how effective aspirin is at treating aches and pains so many people deal with daily, as well as treating life-threatening conditions, that make it a true miracle drug.
There are few side effects. Side effects vary and affect people in different ways. But generally speaking, compared to other drugs used to treat so many conditions, there are very few side effects.
Common side effects include:
● Abdominal pain
● Upset stomach
● Gastrointestinal ulcerations
Few drugs have been around for as long as aspirin and saved as many lives. We often take aspirin for granted as it’s available over-the-counter and costs just a few bucks. Yet, aspirin saves lives and improves the standard of living for countless people all over the world every day.
It’s a true miracle drug, and we can only hope for more medical discoveries as important and as impactful as aspirin in the future. Read more about health and medicine to ensure you lead a healthy lifestyle.