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A Journal on Internal Medicine

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Minerva Medica 2009 April;100(2):133-6


language: English

The preventive and therapeutic impact of antiplatelet agents: past and present

Gensini G. F., Conti A. A.

1 National coordinator of SPREAD Guidelines 2 Department of Critical Care Medicine and Surgery University of Florence, Florence, Italy 3 Don Carlo Gnocchi Foundation IRCCS S. Maria agli Ulivi, Florence, Italy


Already more than two thousands years ago the Greek physician Hippocrates (V-IV century B.C.) used the extracts of the willow bark to fight fever. At the end of the eighteen hundreds the German chemist Felix Hoffmann obtained acetylsalicylic acid in stable and pure form, and from then on Aspirin (where A is the abbreviation of acetyl and Spir stands for Spirsaure, the German name of salicylic acid) has had enormous diffusion. In 1953 Lawrence Craven reported that he had successfully prescribed aspirin to hundreds of adult male patients for the non-specific prophylaxis of coronary thrombosis. Aspirin is now one of the most well-known drugs in the world, and in the last decades a large body of scientific evidence has appeared with regard to the preventive and therapeutic effects of aspirin and those of other antiplatelet agents. In fact, antiplatelet agents constitute a cornerstone in current pharmacological treatment and prophylaxis. Among the most interesting recent and beneficial areas of impact of aspirin and of other antiplatelet drugs, there are those of stroke and of coronary artery disease, and today targeted pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions should be carefully combined to deal, preventively and therapeutically, with the cardiovascular epidemic.

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