The benefits of a daily dose of aspirin have long been discussed by medical professionals — but now it seems it might even prevent liver damage.
Millions of people suffering alcohol abuse and obesity could reduce their chances of harming the body's biggest internal organ with the common painkiller, according to researchers at the Yale School of Medicine.
Scientists from the Journal of Clinical Investigation said tests on mice showed aspirin reduced death caused by an overdose of acetaminophen, best known as paracetamol.
Aspirin may help prevent and treat liver damage from a host of non-infectious causes.
"Many agents such as drugs and alcohol cause liver damage, and we have found two ways to block a central pathway responsible for such liver injury,” said Dr. Wajahat Mehal, an associate professor in the Department of Immunobiology at the Yale School of Medicine.
"Our strategy is to use aspirin on a daily basis to prevent liver injury."
Promising drugs that have failed clinical trials because of liver toxicity might be resurrected if combined with aspirin, Mehal added.
"This offers the exciting possibility of reducing a lot of pain and suffering in patients with liver diseases, using a new and very practical approach."
Aspirin counteracts new mechanisms of acetaminophen or paracetamol-induced liver damage.
Overdoses of acetaminophen account for the most drug overdoses in the majority of Western countries.
Professors have already suggested women who take aspirin once a day may slightly reduce their risk of the most common type of breast cancer.
A daily dose of aspirin is also recommended to prevent heart attacks in people at high risk of having one.