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Invited Commentary
Feb 13, 2012

Aspirin Therapy in Primary Prevention: Comment on “Effect of Aspirin on Vascular and Nonvascular Outcomes”

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Divisions of Cardiovascular Disease and Preventive Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.

Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(3):217-218. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.626

The use of aspirin in medicine dates at least as far back as Hippocrates who found analgesic effects for the extract (salicin) of white willow bark.1 Aspirin irreversibly inactivates platelet cyclooxygenase, preventing platelets from synthesizing thromboxane A2, a potent vasoconstrictor and promoter of platelet aggregation. Aspirin also has anti-inflammatory and vasodilatory effects that may be important.