Aspirin also is known as Acetylsalicylic Acid is one of the most common and most consumed painkillers in America. Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) is extracted from salicylic acid. Aspirin is an over the counter medicine found in most pharmacies. It is known to relieve pain and prevent heart attacks. In ancient Greece, salicylic acid was used to relieve pain. However, aspirin was invented by Felix Hoffmann in 1897. He wanted to find a substance or a medicine that could help his father with his arthritis. Felix studied the notes and experiments of a French chemist named Charles Gergard and rediscovered acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin).
Aspirin chemical formula is C9H8O4. One of its active ingredients, salicylic acid was found in the back of a willow tree when first discovered. Many scientists would extract the salicylic acid from the willow tree and made the compound synthetically. However, now aspirin is manufactured or/and synthesized. Aspirin is manufactured at the Bayer Co. where Felix Hoffmann worked when he discovered aspirin. It varies how aspirin is manufactured but the production of the hard tablet of aspirin only requires four ingredients, acetylsalicylic acid, water, lubricant, and water.
Aspirin comes in many different ways, they can come as chewable tablets or hard tablets. The weight, thickness, shape all depends on the dosage being made. As mentioned before, aspirin consisted of only four ingredients. However, the color or shape of the hard tablet there is other ingredients involved when making the tablet such as flavor agents and coloring agents. During the manufacturing process, aspirin tablets of the same dosage are made together in the same batches.
The manufacturing process of hard aspirin tablets known as slugging begins by weighing the cornstarch and the lubricant in different containers to know if both meet the predetermined specifications of the right amount of dosage is made. Once the weighing the ingredients is done, the mixing process begins. The cornstarch (an active ingredient of lubricant) is mixed with cold water then heated and stirred until a translucent paste is formed. The cornstarch is later mixed with the other ingredients. The ingredients are mixed well to remove the air that was in the mixture. The mixture is separated into units, these units are called slugs. The dry screening begins. The small batches of the “slugs” are forced on a screen by a hand handled spatula. The bigger batches are sized and filtered by a machine and the remaining lubricant is added so that the batches don’t stick onto the tablet machine during the compression process.
The small batches of the mixture are compressed into the tablets by a single-punched machine while with larger batches the mixture is compressed by a rotary machine. This is when the dye of the tablets come in place.
After the compression process, the tablets are tested by a hardness and friability test. Then, the tablets are put into the plastic bottles and the bottles go through the labeling process where the expiration date and the information of aspirin are shown for the user.
Even though aspirin is very common to help relieve pain, there are many side effects or safety hazards. Common side effects of aspirin are an upset stomach, headaches, and drowsiness. During pregnancy, it’s advised to ask the doctor before taking any aspirin. It can affect the fetus and the breast milk. Not only does it have many sides effects to the human but also the main ingredient of aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) has some safety hazards. When dealing with just acetylsalicylic acid, the acid can be very harmful when in contact with skin or eye contact.
Overall, learning all this information about aspirin has been very interesting. I never took the time to actually look at any information about aspirin. The history of aspirin was something very interesting. I would never have thought that people from the ancient days knew how to deal with pain and discovered a way to help with pain. Also, knowing that America is the number one country to consume the most painkillers wasn’t a big surprise but it was something that I didn’t know before.