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J Athl Train. 1993 Fall; 28(3): 252-254, 256-259.
PMCID: PMC1317722

An Overview Of The Physiology And Pharmacology Of Aspirin And Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs


In this article, I present an overview of the actions and effects of aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Although athletic trainers cannot prescribe or dispense prescription medications, they should be as aware of their effects as they are of other methods of injury treatment. To set the discussion in proper perspective, the inflammatory process and its mediators are reviewed briefly. The eicosanoids are a family of very active chemicals, which include: the prostaglandins, thromboxane, and the leukotrienes. They affect inflammation as well as numerous other body processes. Ingesting aspirin and NSAIDs blocks the production of prostaglandins and thromboxane, resulting in desired and undesired effects. The NSAIDs were developed to have the same action as aspirin, but with fewer adverse side effects. Many NSAIDs are currently available, and the decision as to which agent to use depends upon various factors. Surprisingly, recent studies suggest that some NSAIDs may hinder the healing process. Although not a NSAID, acetaminophen has many important clinical uses. Armed with an understanding of how these drugs act, and their potentially harmful aspects, the athletic trainer can assist the team physician in designing an aspirin- or NSAID-therapy regimen.

Full text

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
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Articles from Journal of Athletic Training are provided here courtesy of National Athletic Trainers Association