Aspirin- the Wonder Drug
More than 50 million Americans take aspirin daily to prevent heart attack and stroke. Aspirin works by inhibiting platelet thromboxane production and this prevents blood clots. Strokes, myocardial infarction, deep venous thrombosis (DVT) all occur when the cells are "sticky" and clump together. Of course clotting involves a very complicated biochemical cascade in the body but the lowly aspirin has quite an effect.
A new study in JAMA this week shows that the low dose aspirin (75-81mg) is effective and the best dose for preventing cardiovascular disease. The standard size aspirin is 325 mg and there is no further effectiveness with this dose but there is a higher risk of gastrointestinal side effects.
It is easy to find 81mg generic aspirin and one of the quality measures hospitals adhere to is giving every heart attack patient an aspirin as soon as they arrive in the ER.
It's nice to know some of the older, cheaper pharmacologic remedies work just fine!