A common painkiller, acetylsalicylic acid also goes by the name aspirin. Lysine acetylsalicylate is a slightly different molecule in structure to the original aspirin molecule, but scientists still use the name aspirin to refer to it. It has the same painkilling effect, but is more suitable for intravenous administration than traditional aspirin.
In medicine, one type of medication may come in slightly different forms. This is because tiny variations in molecular structure can alter the way the drug works in the body. Lysine acetylsalicylate is a salt of aspirin, which means that it has a particular section attached to it, in this case, a lysine molecule.
Lysine is one of the amino acids that humans use as building blocks for proteins. While it has no painkilling effect, it allows the aspirin to be soluble in liquids. It is the acetylsalicylate portion of the drug that reduces pain. The characteristic of solubility makes the drug suitable for injections and also for liquid medicines that need to be swallowed.
The function of the drug is to stop the enzyme cyclo-oxygenase from performing its normal function in the immune response of the body. When the enzyme is blocked, the body produces lower levels of substances called prostaglandins. These normally tell the body to create inflammation and pain, so when they are downregulated, the patient feels less pain and the inflammation goes down.
Examples of suitable conditions that lysine acetylsalicylate may be able to treat include headaches, especially migraines. Aspirin based drugs also have blood thinning effects, and may be suitable for some people with heart disease. As well as these specific cases, lysine acetylsalicylate's painkilling effects can also benefit a variety of aches and pains that require intravenous treatment.
When a patient takes a medication orally in a form like a tablet, the active ingredient in the medicine can cause temporary irritation to the gastrointestinal tract. As the drug also has to make its way through the gastrointestinal tract and to the area that is painful, typically a time lag occurs until the pain is relieved. People who are suffering from nausea and vomiting may also not be able to keep the medicine down long enough to benefit from its effects. The advantages to a doctor injecting lysine acetylsalicylate directly into to a vein means that all these potential problems are bypassed, and the drug gets to the necessary area quickly.