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Dr. Corey Burt

Dr. Corey Burt

Aspirin – Helpful or Harmful?

Aspirin is probably the most widely used drug in the world.

Approximately 100 billion aspirin tablets are produced and consumed each year and it is estimated that over one trillion aspirin tablets have been consumed in the past 100 years. 

Each year over 60 billion aspirin tablets are taken worldwide with Americans consuming 34 billion of those tablets. 

This accounts for about 350 million dollars in annual sales. 

It is estimated that in the next ten years, medical doctors will recommend that an additional ten million Americans should begin taking aspirin daily.

HOW DOES ASPIRIN WORK?

When a cell is damaged, it releases a substance called a prostaglandin, which carries a chemical message to the nervous system that the cell needs repair. 

The nervous system responds by initiating the healing process to repair the damage. 

Aspirin destroys the prostaglandins so that communication is broken between the damaged cells and the nervous system resulting in an interrupted healing process.

In a review of several studies, flu sufferers who took an anti-fever medication were sick an average of 3.5 days longer than people who did not take drugs. Although the drug may make the flu more bearable by relieving aches and pains, they may make it last longer.

On average, flu symptoms lasted 5.3 days in participants who did not take aspirin, compared with 8.8 days in people who took the anti-fever drugs.

Aspirin temporarily relieves the discomfort of the symptoms, but by doing so, it slows down the healing process, which prolongs the problem rather than correcting it. 

Additionally, aspirin causes many adverse reactions and side effects.

ASPIRIN’S SIDE EFFECTS

Besides carrying a chemical message, prostaglandins also maintain a protective lining in the stomach. 

Destruction of prostaglandins by aspirin destroys the stomach lining and inhibits replacement of the mucous lining. 

The FDA estimates that NSAID’s, (aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen) account for 200,000 cases of gastrointestinal bleeding, 107,000 hospitalizations, and as many as 20,000 deaths each year.

An extensive study published in the New England Journal of Medicine reported that the use of aspirin was associated with an increased risk of chronic kidney failure.

The regular use of aspirin was associated with 2.5 times greater risk of chronic kidney failure than as that for nonusers of aspirin. For those who took 500g or more of aspirin per year (over 4 aspirin tablets every day), the risk was 3 times greater than for non-users. (3)

The use of aspirin during the last 2 weeks of pregnancy may cause bleeding problems in the fetus before or during delivery or in the newborn infant.

Also, too much use of aspirin during the last 3 months of pregnancy may increase the length of pregnancy, prolong labor, cause other problems during delivery, or cause severe bleeding in the mother before, during, or after the delivery. (4)

CONCLUSION

Effective marketing has led consumers to believe aspirin and other over-the-counter pain relievers are harmless drugs, but there is much evidence to suggest the opposite. 

Medical research is constantly supporting drug usage, which is not surprising since most of the medical research is funded by the drug industry. 

Many safe and natural alternatives that have proven to be effective, rarely receive positive media exposure, and are often downplayed by an industry that has no financial interest in a drug-less health care system.

REFERENCES

1. Plaisance K.“Anti-fever drugs may prolong flu” Pharmacotherapy, Dec, 2000, 2: 1417-1422

2. Bystrianyk, R. Health Sentinel, Oct 30, 2002

3. Fored, C.M. “Acetaminophen, aspirin, and chronic renal failure. New England Journal of

Medicine. Dec 20, 2001 Vol 345, 1801-1808.

4. Drug Information for the consumer. P.1037

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