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Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) has been widely used as an over-the-counter drug to relieve pain throughout the world. In suicide attempts, aspirin is one of the most common drugs taken in large quantities. The concentration of salicylic acid shows a low-level distribution in the mouse brain, a site that may be critical regarding the expression of symptoms (e.g. hyperpnea, coma, convulsion and tremor) during acute aspirin toxicity. Therefore, it was suggested that sensitivity to salicylic acid concerning acute toxicity was higher in the brain than in other organs. Moreover, it is thought that it is common for aspirin and ethanol to be ingested at the same time. Therefore, the present study was designed to investigate the influence of ethanol on the distribution of salicylic acid, which is a primary metabolite of aspirin, and its related metabolite, salicyluric acid. The oral co-administration of aspirin (0.5g/kg) and ethanol (2.5g/kg; 10ml/kg of 25% (w/v)) enhanced the concentrations of salicylic acid in the plasma and organs, especially in the brain, compared with the aspirin alone-treated group. On the other hand, ethanol did not influence the concentrations of salicyluric acid in the plasma and kidney compared with the aspirin alone-treated group. These results suggest that ethanol enhances aspirin absorption from the gastrointestinal tract but has no influence on its metabolism. Thus, it is dangerous to ingest the alcohol and aspirin at the same time, as this may exacerbate the acute toxicity of aspirin.


Hideaki Kato, Kanji Yoshimoto, Masaki Kobayashi, Masaaki Sakabe, Hironao Funaki, Hiroshi Ikegaya. Oral administration of ethanol with aspirin increases the concentration of salicylic acid in plasma and organs, especially the brain, in mice. European journal of pharmacology. 2010 Jun 10;635(1-3):184-7

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PMID: 20303949

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