Salena Tran, Blk C, May 2010
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General Information:
Aspirin or Acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) is generally used as a pain reliever from minor aches and pains.
Some common uses are:

- Reduction of swelling
- Reduce severity of heart attacks
- Recovery of cardiovascular surgery

The IUPAC name for Aspirin is 2-acetoxybenzoic acid. Aspirin was the first member of the drugs known as Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. The melting point of Aspirin is at 135 °C and the Boiling point is at 140 °C, where it decomposes. The chemist who discovered Acetylsalicylic Acid was Charles Frederic Gerhardt in 1853.

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How Acetylsalicylic Acid is made:

Charles Frederic Gerhardt mixed acetyl chloride with sodium salicylate, a reaction occurred. The melted liquid soon solidified. Six years later, von Gilm came up with acetylsalicylic acid by reacting salicylic acid and acetyl chloride. Ten years later, Schroder, Prinzhorn, and Kraut combined Gerhardt’s and von Gilm’s syntheses and concluded that both gave the compound acetylsalicylic acid.

Acetylsalicylic Acid is made by combining Salicylic Acid and Acetic Anhydride to react and form Acetylsalicylic Acid and Acetic Acid. Often sulphuric acid is used as a catalyst to speed up the process. Although Acetic Acid is form, it is not really needed and therefore is a by-product.
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Salicylic Acid + Acetic Anhydride
> Acetylsalicylic Acid + Acetic Acid

How Acetylsalicylic Acid benefits us:
Aspirin is used as a pain killer and it helps relieve minor aches. It also helps prevent cardiovascular disease, but only in some cases is it recommended. Possible benefits that are being researched are:

- Improving circulation in the gums
- Prevention of Adult Leukemia
- Reduce in prostate cancer

If given aspirin after a heart attack, it can prevent another heart attack from occurring. It is also used for reducing the risk of strokes.

How Acetylsalicylic Acid harms us:
Aspirin can be extremely harmful if it isn’t used properly. Aspirin is recommended to be taken in small doses. Aspirin is not recommended for those who are:

- Children under 16
- Anyone under 20 with a fever
- Women in their last trimester
- Diabetics on Medication
- Reduced Kidney Functions or liver disease

The use of aspirin in children under 16 or anyone under 20 with a fever was found to develop a fatal condition named Reye Syndrome. The use of aspirin has the power to damage the kidneys. If you think you have taken too much aspirin then you should’ve, seek medical attention immediately. Some overdose side effects are:

- Ringing in the ears
- Headache
- Nausea
- Dizziness
- Seizures

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