Health Team

Aspirin Could Help To Prevent Asthma

Posted January 16, 2007 3:30 p.m. EST
Updated January 17, 2007 12:13 p.m. EST

— Aspirin is a basic drug found in most medicine cabinets. It can ease headaches and protect the heart. Now, researchers have discovered another possible use -- preventing asthma.

Doctor Tobias Kurth, from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, led a study of 22,000 men and found that aspirin seemed to lower the chance of developing asthma.

"Aspirin was associated with about 22 percent risk reduction of adult onset asthma," he said.

Aspirin has been called the "wonder drug", and for good reason. The pill offers pain relief as well as helping to prevent heart attack and stroke. Some research has found it may even lower the chance of some cancers and Alzheimer's disease.

Aspirin reduces inflammation. Inflammation can cause joint pain and contribute to clotting in the blood. Health officials said inflammatory pathways can lead to asthma.

"So one can speculate because of this, aspirin may prevent adult onset asthma," said Dr. Kurth.

However, it is important to note that aspirin will not help people who already have asthma. For some people with asthma, aspirin could make the condition worse. As for taking aspirin to prevent asthma, Dr. Merel Myerson of Saint Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital said it is too soon to tell.

"The important thing to remember is we're going to need many more studies to back this up," Myerson said.

The study appears in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.