JIM DOWDALLS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JIM DOWDALLS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Action of aspirin. Computer illustration showing the mechanism of action of the drug aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid). Aspirin works by preventing the production of prostaglandin, which is involved in causing pain and inflammation. Aspirin molecules (blue hexagons) enter the cell and chemically modify the cyclooxygenase (COX) enzyme (purple) by the transfer of an acetyl group (blue bar). This stops COX taking part in prostaglandin synthesis. Aspirin is classified as a non-steroidal anti- inflammatory drug (NSAID), a group which includes ibuprofen and naproxen. All NSAIDs inhibit COX in some way.
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