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salicylate(səlĭs`əlāt'), any of a group of analgesicsanalgesic
, any of a diverse group of drugs used to relieve pain. Analgesic drugs include the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as the salicylates, acetaminophen, narcotic drugs such as morphine, and synthetic drugs with morphinelike action such as meperidine
..... Click the link for more information. , or painkilling drugs, that are derivatives of salicylic acid. The best known is acetylsalicylic acid, or aspirinaspirin,
acetyl derivative of salicylic acid (see salicylate) that is used to lower fever, relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and thin the blood. Common conditions treated with aspirin include headache, muscle and joint pain, and the inflammation caused by rheumatic fever and
..... Click the link for more information. . Now often made synthetically, they were originally derived from salicin, the active ingredient in willow bark, used for centuries in the treatment of pain and fever. Salicylates also occur naturally in many plants used as foods (e.g., strawberries, almonds, tomatoes). Methyl salicylate is the main component of wintergreen, sweet birch, gautheria, and betula oils; the compound is used in rubbing linimentsliniment,
liquid preparation rubbed on skin, used to relieve muscular aches and pains. It contains some substance that when rubbed over the affected part causes mild irritation and often brings more blood to the painful part.
..... Click the link for more information. to soothe muscular aches and as a flavoring. Sodium salicylate, traditionally used in the treatment of arthritis, is also used in dyes and as a nonedible preservative.
In general, salicylates, especially aspirin, are used medically to reduce fever and inflammation and to relieve headache, menstrual pain, and pain in nerves, muscles, and joints. Because of the effects of salicylates on blood platelets and clotting, aspirin is often prescribed prophylactically for those at risk of stroke or heart attack. Salicylates are useful, relatively safe drugs, but normal doses can cause gastrointestinal disturbances in sensitive patients and large doses can be toxic or fatal, especially to children.