What Are the Medical Uses of Sodium Salicylate?

Dee Saale
Dee Saale

Sodium salicylate has been used for medical purposes for hundreds of years. It is the salt form of a chemical called salicylic acid. In 1763, this white-colored powder was discovered, and it became the first nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, or NSAID. It is also typically used as an analgesic or pain reducer, a fungicide, and a fever reducer. In addition, it is often used to treat dandruff and other fungal infections. It is sometimes recommended to reduce the symptoms of rheumatism, whooping cough, and kidney disorders as well.

Sodium salicylate is one of the oldest fever reducing NSAIDs available.
Sodium salicylate is one of the oldest fever reducing NSAIDs available.

When sodium salicylate is used as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, it works to reduce pain and inflammation in the body. Although it is similar to aspirin, its chemical configuration is slightly different. As a result, it is sometimes prescribed to people who are sensitive to aspirin itself. In addition, it is sometimes recommended for people who have an inflammation of the kidney or the bladder.

People who are sensitive to aspirin may be directed to take sodium salicylate.
People who are sensitive to aspirin may be directed to take sodium salicylate.

Since sodium salicylate may be used as an analgesic, it is often recommended for people with body, muscle, or joint pain. Both homeopathic medicine practitioners and scientific studies have indicated that sodium salicylate may be helpful for people affected by rheumatism or rheumatoid arthritis. In fact, one study determined it was as potent as aspirin, but less toxic to the gastrointestinal system. As a result, it is sometimes considered to be a good alternative to aspirin when it comes to the management of the pain associated with rheumatism.

Sodium salicylate can be used to treat dandruff.
Sodium salicylate can be used to treat dandruff.

People with fungal infections are also commonly prescribed the compound, as it also works as a fungicide. As a result, people affected with a wide variety of fungal issues may use sodium salicylate. For example, dandruff, psoriasis, ichthyosis, and other fungal infections may be treated through the use of the chemical in shampoos, ointments, and creams.

Salicylic acid can be derived from willow bark.
Salicylic acid can be derived from willow bark.

One of the more unique homeopathic uses for this compound is its use in the treatment of whooping cough. Some practitioners claim that a few grains of the remedy may help relieve the symptoms of the disorder. They believe that its anti-inflammatory properties can help open inflamed breathing passages and reduce the coughing associated with whooping cough.

Sodium salicylate may be helpful for people with rheumatoid arthritis.
Sodium salicylate may be helpful for people with rheumatoid arthritis.

Because side effects, such as gastrointestinal irritation, are possible, a medical provider should be consulted before using sodium salicylate. Generally, children who are younger than 19 years old should not use the drug. There is some concern that if it is used in patients with certain viral illnesses, such as influenza, it may trigger a fatal disease that affects the organs of the body called Reye’s Syndrome. In addition, it should not be given to people with hemophilia because it thins the blood and makes blood clotting more difficult.

Sodium salicylate, an anti-inflammatory drug, may benefit people who are afflicted with joint and muscle pain.
Sodium salicylate, an anti-inflammatory drug, may benefit people who are afflicted with joint and muscle pain.
Dee Saale
Dee Saale

Dee is a freelance writer based in Colorado. She has a B.A. in English Literature, as well as a law degree. Dee is especially interested in topics relating to medicine, legal issues, and home improvement, which are her specialty when contributing to wiseGEEK.

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