IT IS well documented that many patients with asthma have adverse reactions to aspirin.1-4 A number of these same patients will have similar reactions to tartrazine (FD and C Yellow No. 5). The incidence of tartrazine sensitivity varies, depending on the study that is reported.
Samter and Beers1 found that 14 of 182 aspirin-sensitive patients were also sensitive to tartrazine (< 8%). In another study,2 they described 3 of 80 aspirin-sensitive patients who reacted to 25 mg of tartrazine. However, Juhlin et al5 found that seven of eight aspirin-sensitive patients reacted with asthma, urticaria, or both after 1 to 2 mg of tartrazine. A later article by Michaelsson and Juhlin6 reported that tartrazine provocation induced objective adverse reactions in 21 of 52 patients with a history of chronic urticaria or angioedema. Moreover, two of these patients had no apparent sensitivity to aspirin. They also noted
Buswell RS, Lefkowitz MS. Oral Bronchodilators Containing Tartrazine. JAMA. 1976;235(11):1111. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03260370019024
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