Transdermal modification of platelet function. A dermal aspirin preparation selectively inhibits platelet cyclooxygenase and preserves prostacyclin biosynthesis.
BACKGROUND Even low doses of oral aspirin inhibit prostacyclin (prostaglandin [PG] I2) formation and cause gastrointestinal toxicity. We examined the skin as a novel route for continuous low-dose aspirin administration and selective inhibition of platelet cyclooxygenase in humans.
METHODS AND RESULTS Aspirin 250 or 750 mg/d for 10 days induced a dose-dependent inhibition of serum thromboxane (TX) B2. At the highest dose, five of six subjects responded, with a mean reduction in serum TXB2 of 95 +/- 3% (P = .003). Urinary 2,3-dinor TXB2, an index of in vivo TXA2 formation, decreased by 68 +/- 7% and recovered slowly, consistent with inhibition of platelet cyclooxygenase in vivo. In contrast, PGI2 biosynthesis, determined as excretion of 2,3-dinor-6-keto PGF1 alpha, was 81 +/- 5% of baseline at 10 days. Intravenous bradykinin increased PGI2 biosynthesis 5.1 +/- 1.6-fold (n = 4) before aspirin treatment. Oral aspirin 75 mg/d for 14 days abolished bradykinin-induced PGI2 formation, whereas dermal aspirin 750 mg/d had no effect despite similar inhibition of TXA2 biosynthesis. In five subjects, plasma aspirin and salicylate were determined after a single application of 750 mg. Aspirin was absorbed slowly, with peak levels of 0.24 +/- 0.11 micrograms/mL at 3 hours. Salicylate levels peaked at 6 to 12 hours, with plasma levels of 0.79 +/- 0.14 micrograms/mL.
CONCLUSIONS Thus, it is possible to achieve selective inhibition of platelet cyclooxygenase by aspirin applied to the skin. This approach may be applicable to other antiplatelet agents and be useful in patients at risk for gastrointestinal bleeding or toxicity.
- Copyright © 1993 by American Heart Association