Aspirin has been a pain-reliever for more than 100 years. And while most of the popular remedies used in the 19th century have been abandoned, the use of aspirin has increased. This powerful pill will reduce pain, fever, inflammation, prevent blood clots, and even reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke.
In the more than 35 years since aspirin's potent anti-clotting effects were first discovered, relatively few drugs have been developed that can even be compared to the efficacy, ease of use, and price of aspirin. From the meta-analyses, and to many stroke experts and biostatisticians in this field, aspirin remains the drug of choice.
Extensive advertising has been promoting three other prescription drugs, also platelet inhibitors, which have similar anti-clotting effects. They are: ticlopidine (Ticlid), clopidogrel (Plavix), and dipyridamole with very small doses of aspirin (Aggrenox). Ticlopidine's use is now known to have been associated with at least 260 deaths from blood disorders. Because of this danger, Ticlopidine is no longer recommended by many physicians, but is still on the market.
Evaluation of Plavix in a single large trial with stroke patients was not significantly better than aspirin in reducing further strokes, and the company has twice been cautioned by the FDA not to promote the drug. Finally, the British Medical Journal concluded that addition of dipyridamole to aspirin produced no significant further reduction in vascular events compared with aspirin alone.