Headache? Fever? Muscle pain? “Take two aspirin and call me in the morning.”….is a common phrase used by you people isn't it?. Hello! I am aspirin some of you know me by the name ecosprin, aspin, disprin and many more
While I have been one of the most popular pharmaceutical agents of the past one hundred years, I am actually a synthetic derivative of the natural substance salicylic acid. So here is my journey so far.
My name aspirin, comes from the combination of acetyl; and the in Latin Spiraea, a biological genus of shrubs which is my origin and -in, which was a common ending for drug names at the time. I was discovered in 400 BC. In Greece, Hippocrates would recommend women Willow leaf tea to relieve the pain of childbirth. It wasn't until thousands of years later that people began to isolate me from the Willow trees. I was then known as salicylic acid. In 1763 Reverend Edward Stone of the Royal Society of London studied the effects of Willow-bark powder by treating patients suffering from ague fever, and approximately 100 years later the Scottish physician Thomas Maclagan studied the effects of Willow powder on patients suffering from acute rheumatism, demonstrating that it could relieve fever and joint inflammation. There was a boom in chemical synthesis in the nineteenth century, Friedrich Bayer and Company, a dye-manufacturing firm in Germany, began to shift its focus from the dye industry to pharmaceutical production and later, succeeded in making me in pure quantities. This quickly made me the most widely used drugs in the world. But soon health issues related to prolonged use of large doses surfaced like GI irritation, which could in turn lead to nausea, vomiting, bleeding, and ulcers. In 1895, to counteract such problems, Arthur Eichengrün, the head of chemical research at Bayer, assigned the task of developing a “better” version of me to one of the company's chemists, Felix Hoffmann ,he approached this task with personal interest: his father suffered from rheumatism and was taking salicylic acid form for it, but he could no longer ingest me without vomiting and hence he modified hydroxyl group on me so that your body could absorb me without significant gastrointestinal distress. Once ingested, I would be converted back to my original form in the body giving therapeutic benefits. My first tablet form appeared in 1900, creating an ease of use that quickly expanded my recognition among professionals, coupled with the fact that I was considerably safer and comparably less toxic In 1915, I was available to the public without a prescription, making me arguably the first modern, synthetic, mass-market medicine and a household name around the world.
In the 1930s Bayer's patent expired making me a generic drug. My popularity declined after the development of my rivals paracetamol in 1956 and ibuprofen in 1962.John Vane along with others discovered my basic mechanism winning the Nobel Prize in medicine stating that I inhibit production of hormones called prostaglandins which are responsible for the formation of clots that leads to heart attacks and strokes, preventing that clotting from happening. While clinical trials and other studies from the 1960s to the 1980s established me as an anti-clotting agent that reduces the risk of clotting diseases thereby reviving my sales considerably in the last decades of the twentieth century, and they still remain strong in the twenty-first with widespread use as a preventive treatment for heart attacks and strokes. Not to brag about myself but lately people do consider me as a “wonder drug,” as I have been useful in the treatment of a variety of conditions beyond fever and pain, including prevention of coronary artery disease, heart attack, and stroke. Recent studies suggest that I may also limit the rate of growth and the occurrence of certain types of cancer, including prostate, colon, pancreatic, and lung cancer.
While new drugs will continue to treat these and other diseases, I believe I am a timeless superstar with an aura, elegance and humility that no other drug can match.
T. Y. B. Pharm