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New Uses for an Old Wonder Drug


One of the most promising drugs on the market today is neither new nor revolutionary. You can even buy it over the counter. What is it? Aspirin.

The November issue of Mayo Clinic Women’s HealthSource covers new and not-so-new uses for this 107-year-old medication. In addition to being a fever reducer, headache tamer and arthritis soother, aspirin is now commonly used to prevent heart attacks and strokes. Aspirin also is gaining credit for possibly helping to prevent some types of cancer.

Scientists aren’t sure how aspirin offers cancer protection. They theorize that aspirin limits the production of prostaglandins -- hormone-like substances that may be involved in tumor growth. Studies over the last nine years have shown that aspirin may help reduce the risk of colon, breast and lung cancers. Studies on pancreatic cancer have shown conflicting results.

Aspirin is able to treat aches and pains as well as prevent serious illness. But, taking aspirin regularly involves risks, including possible stomach irritation, hemorrhages or allergic reaction. Taking low doses of aspirin (75 to 150 milligrams a day) may reduce the risk of side effects and still offer benefits. To determine if aspirin is the best medicine for you -- and how much you should take -- talk with your doctor.

Mayo Clinic Women’s HealthSource is published monthly to help women enjoy healthier, more productive lives. Revenue from subscriptions is used to support medical research at Mayo Clinic. To subscribe, please call 800-876-8633, extension 9PK1.

| newswise
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