Health Questions and Answers

Question: How do the effects of aspirin on platelets differ from those of other NSAIDs?

Answer:

NSAIDs, including aspirin, decrease platelet aggregation by inhibiting the COX. Acetylated salicylates (such as aspirin) irreversibly destroy this enzyme, whereas other NSAIDs (including nonacetylated salicylates) allow the return of normal enzyme function once the drug level has dropped. Because COX-2 does not regulate platelet aggregation, newer COX-2 NSAIDs have little effect on platelet function.

Reference: Koopman WJ (ed): Arthritis and Allied Conditions: A Textbook of Rheumatology, 15th ed. Philadelphia, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2005.

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