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Aspirin: The Power Drug

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009 Aspirin: The Power Drug

Yale University have carried out a study and suggests simple aspirin may prevent liver damage to millions of people suffering from the side effects of common drugs, alcohol abuse, and obesity-related liver disease according to a report by Jenny Hope of the Mail (26 09 09).

The study published on Monday in the Journal of Clinical Investigation found aspirin reduced mortality caused by an overdose of acetaminophen, best known by the brand name Tylenol.

It further showed that a class of molecules known as TLR antagonists, which block receptors known to activate inflammation, have a similar effect as aspirin, the paper said.

Since these agents seem to work by reducing injury-induced inflammation, the results suggest aspirin may help prevent and treat liver damage from a host of non-infectious causes, Wajahat Mehal from the university, who led the study, said.

“Many agents such as drugs and alcohol cause liver damage, and we have found two ways to block a central pathway responsible for such liver injury,” Mehal said. “Our strategy is to use aspirin on a daily basis to prevent liver injury.”

Promising drugs that have failed clinical trials because of liver toxicity might be resurrected if combined with aspirin, he said.

“This offers the exciting possibility of reducing a lot of pain and suffering in patients with liver diseases, using a new and very practical approach,” Mehal said.

Aspirin counteracts new mechanisms of acetaminophen or paracetamol-induced liver damage.

The over-use of acetaminophen accounts for most drug overdoses in most western countries.

Clinical trials show daily aspirin reduces the chances of a repeat heart attack, although there is still uncertainty about its role in preventing an initial attack in those at high risk.

There is increasing evidence that regular use of aspirin can cut the chances of developing certain types of cancer.

But the side effects of aspirin may cause problems ranging from dizziness to stomach pain and bleeding.

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