This archived forum used to be called 'Peatarian' (in reference to Ray Peat).

Why does aspirin cause liver damage (especially some children) when used for fever?

They call it Reye syndrome. Its not really that common, but why does it happen, is it dose related? When aspirin use was replaced with tylenol Reye syndrome cases went down.

Could it be my theory that aspirin, since it works by stopping the enzyme that makes longer chain omega 6 fatty acid from the shorter ones (linoleic to arachidonic), stops all the omega 6 fatty acids that someone ate from the seed oils in the liver where everything blows up?

asked Feb 28, 2015 by Gurt
edited Feb 28, 2015 by Gurt

2 Answers

Nice thought but I'm not entirely convinced Aspirin is guilty of the charge.

For starters the evidence for it is not, "when we gave healthy children aspirin, they developed reyes syndrome" but actually it's, "We discovered children with reyes sydrome, something like 85% of them had aspirin in their blood."

Which sort of says, parents gave their already sick children aspirin and aspirin may have taken the blame for the problem it had been employed to relieve the symptoms of. The other 15% who didn't have aspirin, what was their story I wonder?

Incidence of Reyes syndrome dropped off sharply before parents were told to stop giving it to children by the authorities. I imagine it's quite rare for public health advice to have an effect before it is actually given ... probably. This hasn't stopped the authorities taking credit for the decline, but then time traveling health advice is a remarkable achievement.

And then there's that various research seems to point to aspirin being liver protective.

answered Feb 28, 2015 by Spokey