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Aspirin

History of the drug

Salicylic acid, the compound form from which aspirin was first derived, was found in the bark of the willow tree by Edmund Stone in England in 1763. Charles F. Gerhardt synthesized the first derivative of salicylic acid in 1853 (see Figures 1 and 2), but it wasn't until 1899 that aspirin, or acetylsalicylic acid, was first synthesized by Felix Hoffman, an employee of Bayer, and trademarked by Bayer (see Figures 3 and 4). 'Aspirin' is the Bayer-registered trademark for acetylsalicylic acid (Mann, 1991).

Advice and possible side effects

Possible side-effects of aspirin include stomach pain, heartburn, loss of appetite, blood in the stool, allergies, vision problems, liver problems and/or extreme thirst, amongst others. In addition, aspirin can change the action of other medications, such as beat blockers and methotrexate and valproic acid, so advice from the physician is necessary before combining aspirin and other medications (Beers et al., 1999; MacDonald and Wei, 2003).

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