A Look at the History of Aspirin for Students in Pharmaceutical Courses

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Aspirin is a popular medication used for a variety of conditions. Throughout its significant history, it has become a trusted option for the public to turn to when faced with ailments such as pain, migraines, and inflammation. As professionals working in the medical industry may know, nearly 100 billion tablets are ingested each year.

With many benefits surrounding this common medication, Aspirin has a significant story behind its development. For students considering a career in the pharmaceutical industry, here is a summary of this impressive history.

The Early History of Aspirin for Students in Pharmaceutical Courses

Long before its approval and modern branding, the medication that would come to be known as Aspirin was used by the ancient Egyptians in order to treat minor aches and pains. The Ancient Greeks also used this medication. Dating back to 400 BC, the Greek physician Hippocrates highlighted that willow leaves and bark could be used to relieve pains, fever, and more. Willow leaves had been used in tea, which would then be consumed by individuals in order for the remedy to take effect.

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Willow tree leaves containing salicylic acid

Graduates of pharmaceutical courses might know that it was not the willow leaves or bark specifically that provided the relief, but in fact Aspirin’s main active ingredient: salicylic acid. This compound stems naturally from plants, most notably willow trees, but can be found in other sources such as beans, jasmine, peas, and other plants.

In 1763, the significance of willow leaves and bark began to increase after knowledge of its benefits resurfaced thanks to the help of Edward Stone, an English clergyman. Stone administered it to 50 feverish patients and outlined the findings, which helped to bring renewed interest to this medication.

Students in Quality Assurance Training Know Aspirin is Now a Modern Treatment

In 1897, Aspirin experienced another breakthrough when chemist Felix Hoffman added an acetyl compound group to salicylic acid in order to reduce negative side effects sometimes experienced by patients.

Administering acetyl to salicylic acid is considered very important by those with quality assurance training as the addition was able to provide and maintain the necessary level of value in the product. Before acetyl was added to salicylic acid, when taken in large doses, patients would sometimes experience nausea and vomiting due to the high amount of acidity in the stomach. The experiment was able to diminish the effects of sickness and discomfort and allowed patients to experience the main benefits of the drug.

In 1915, Aspirin became available as an over-the-counter product in the form of tablets. It soon became a widely effective and popular treatment. Today, that long legacy continues as Aspirin remains one of the most widely used medications on the planet. Even today, clinical trials continue to explore the potential benefits of Aspirin, with some seeking to determine if the drug may also offer the potential to reduce the risk of cancer.

Are you interested in pursuing quality assurance in pharmaceutical industries?

Contact the Academy of Applied Pharmaceutical Sciences (AAPS) for more information regarding our programs.