Purpose of Review
Non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) constitute a vital class of medications in today’s headache regimen. However, up until the nineteenth century, they were largely unknown to most of the medical community. The purpose of this review is to explore the evolution of NSAIDs in the treatment of headaches spurred on by the Industrial Revolution in the USA.
The currently available data on the impact of NSAIDs reflects their significant contribution to headache treatment.
The emergence of mass production spurred on by the Industrial Revolution, lead to widespread use of antipyrine, salicylic acid, and acetanilide. However, along with it came the growing awareness of consumer safety, leading to their ultimate downfall, and the subsequent birth of the Food and Drug Act.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance
Hand W. Magical medicine. Berkley: University of California Press; 1980.
Warner J. The therapeutic perspective: medical practice, knowledge, and identitity in America, 1820–1885. Cambridge: Harvard University Press; 1986.
•• McTavish J. Pain and profits: the history of the headache and its remedies in America: New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press; 2004. A very good review on the history of headache treatment in America within a historical context.
Warner J. The therapeutic perspective: medical practice, knowledge, and identity in America, 1820–1885. Cambridge: Harvard University Press; 1986.
Wood George B. A treatise on the practice of medicine. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott and Co., 1858.
Risse G, Numbers R, Leavitt J. Medicine without doctors: home health care in American history. New York: Science History Publications; 1977.
Sonnedecker G. History of pharmacy. 4th ed. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott; 1976. p. 219.
Carpenter Company Advertisement, Carpenter’s Annual Medical Advertiser, Philadelphia, 1835.
Griffenhagen G, Bogard M. History of drug containers and their labels. Madison: American Institute of the History of Pharmacy; 1999.
Welch, Barbara (1984) Being-in-body: a reflection upon American Self-medication drug adverising. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Iowa, 89.
• Brown T, Dronsfield A, Ellis P. Education in Chemistry: “Pain relief: from coal tar to paracetamol” Royal Society of Chemistry; 2005. A good review on the history of headache treatment.
Jack DB. One hundred years of aspirin. Lancet. 1997;350:437–9.
Stone E. An account of the success of the bark of the willow in the cure of agues. Philos Trans R Soc Lond. 1763;53:195–200.
Vane JR, Flower RJ, Botting RM. History of aspirin and its mechanisms of action. Stroke. 1990;21(Suppl 4):IV12–23.
W Sneader. The discovery of aspirin: a reappraisal BMJ 2000; 321:1591.
Rainsford K. Aspirin and related drugs. JPP. 2006;58(12):1691.
Gad SC. Development of therapeutic agents handbook: New Jersey. Wiley & Sons; 2011.
Hochwalt CA. The story of aspirin. Aust J Pharm. 1957;38:771–2.
Mann C, Plummer M. The Aspirin Wars: Money, Medicine, and l00 Years of Rampant Competition. New York: Knopf; 1991. pp. 42–49..
Girard AC. Antipyrine the new antipyretic medical new. Philadelphia: Henry Lea’s Son & Co., 1884;45:625–7.
Munde P. Antipyrine a substitute for quinine. NY Times. 1886:6 col. 4.
White JB. Antipyrin as an analgesic in headache. Med Rec. 1886;34:293.
Egan PR. Antipyrine as an analgesic. Med Rec. 1888;34:477–8.
Antipyrine. Druggist Circular. New York.1884;28:185
Cahn A, Hepp P. Centralblatt. Klin Med. 1886;33:561.
Wulling FJ. Acetanlide, antifebrin: how prepared. In: Pharmaceuical era, vol. 10; 1893. p. 397.
Jacobi A. A protest against acetanilid. JAMA. 1906;46:135.
Young JH. Pure Food : Securing the Federal Food and Drugs Act of 1906. Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, 1989.
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
Topical Collection on Hot Topics in Pain and Headache
About this article
Cite this article
Mahmud, S., Rosen, N. History of NSAID Use in the Treatment of Headaches Pre and Post-industrial Revolution in the United States: the Rise and Fall of Antipyrine, Salicylic Acid, and Acetanilide. Curr Pain Headache Rep 23, 6 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11916-019-0744-6
- Salicylic acid
- Post-Industrial Revolution