Acetylsalicylic Acid (ASA) (Adverse effects)

Acetylsalicylic acid is a cyclooxygenase inhibitor known for its analgesic, antipyretic, anti-inflammatory and antiplatelet effects. One of the adverse effects of aspirin use is the appearance of asthma in people with a certain genetic predisposition.

Aspirin, the ester acetylsalicylic acid, was introduced in the clinic in 1899, being used as an analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic and an antithrombotic. Once in the organism, the acetylsalicylic acid is hydrolyzed to salicylate which is also active.

The analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties of acetylsalicylic acid are similar to those of other non-steroid anti-inflammatory. Acetylsalicylic acid is used in the treatment of numerous inflammatory and auto-immune reactions such as juvenile arthritis, rheumatic arthritis and osteoarthritis. Because of its antithrombotic properties, it is used to prevent or reduce the risk of transient ischemic heart disease and strokes. During the greater part of the 20th century, aspirin was only used as an analgesic, anti-inflammatory drug but after 1980, its properties for inhibiting platelet aggregations made it more widely used for this condition. More recently, it has been demonstrated that chronic treatment (more than 10 years) with acetylsalicylic acid reduces the risk of colon cancer. Today it is known that aspirin possesses antiproliferative properties.

Asthma is a complex genetic syndrome that affects some 300 million persons world-wide. The response to treatment is genetically complex and is characterized by a high intraindividual repeatability and a high intraindividual variability where up to 40% of the asthma patients may not have a response to therapy.

Asthma exaggerates the body’s reaction to allergens or air irritants; the constriction that inflames the bronchial tubes is so severe that breathing is very difficult. In severe cases, asthma attacks can be fatal. Researchers do not know the reason why the prevalence of asthma has been increasing in the United States and other developed countries in the last quarter of a century; more than one in ten persons is diagnosed with the illness in some moment of infancy. But the majority coincide in that the risk of a person developing the asthmatic condition depends on a combination of genetic susceptibility and of the exposure to environmental factors such air pollution, viral infections allergens and psychological stress.


Aspirin can bring on the following secondary effects:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach ache
  • Stomach acidity

Some of the secondary effects can be serious. A doctor should be seen immediately if you have:

  • Skin rash
  • Hives
  • Inflammations of the eyes, face, lips, tongue and lips
  • Wheezing (breathing with an unusual whistling) or difficulty breathing
  • Hoarseness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Rapid breathing
  • Damp, cold skin
  • Whistling in the ears
  • Loss of hearing
  • Vomit with blood or looks like coffee grounds
  • Bright red blood in the stools or black/tarry stools


  • AAS®
  • Rhonal®
  • Sedergine®

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