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June 11, 1982

Aspirin as a Risk Factor in Reye's Syndrome

JAMA. 1982;247(22):3089-3094. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320470035029

Fifty-six cases of Reye's syndrome (RS) in school-aged children were reported in Michigan during the winter of 1979-1980. The parents of 25 of these children were interviewed in the spring of 1980, as were controls matched to the cases for age, race, school grade, and nature of antecedent viral illness. Children with RS were more likely to have received medication containing aspirin during their viral illness than controls (24/25 v 34/46), even when the child's highest measured fever was added as a criterion for matching (14/14 v 14/19). During the winter of 1980-1981, a second study was undertaken to examine this observed difference more carefully. All 12 school-aged children with RS, and controls matched to the cases for race, school grade, nature of antecedent viral illness, and peak temperature, were interviewed as cases occurred. Again, the ill children had received aspirincontaining products more frequently (12/12 v 13/29). Although RS can occur in the absence of aspirin ingestion, our data indicate that aspirin taken during viral illness may contribute to the development of RS.

(JAMA 1982;247:3089-3094)