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Aspirin sensitivity may cause symptoms similar
to allergic reactions in susceptible people. Patients with aspirin
sensitivity typically also have asthma and nasal polyps (growths in the nose), a combination known as the "aspirin triad."
Aspirin sensitivity can be confirmed in a doctor's office by performing a
challenge test by giving the patient a small dose of aspirin and watching
for symptoms of aspirin sensitivity to develop. The December 22/29, 2004,
issue of JAMA includes an article about aspirin sensitivity
with particular regard to use of aspirin in the treatment and prevention of
Occurrence of the following symptoms after taking aspirin or another nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (such as ibuprofen,
indomethacin, or naproxen) suggests the possibility of aspirin sensitivity:
Itchy and watery eyes
Rashes around the mouth
Cough and wheezing
Anaphylaxis—a severe, potentially
fatal reaction including hives, difficulty breathing, and a drop in blood
pressure; fortunately rare in aspirin sensitivity
Avoid aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
Avoid drugs with aspirin as an ingredient
People with aspirin-induced asthma can usually take acetaminophen
to relieve pain
Talk to your doctor if you think you may have aspirin sensitivity. Referral
to an allergist (doctor with special training in
allergic diseases) may be helpful.
Many people with aspirin sensitivity can be "desensitized" under
close medical supervision so that they can eventually take aspirin safely.
During the desensitization process, very low doses of aspirin
are taken each day, with the doses slowly increasing over time.
Undergoing aspirin desensitization followed by a daily aspirin dose
can also improve asthma and slow the rate at which nasal polyps grow in people
with the aspirin triad.
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology 414/272-6071 http://www.aaaai.org
American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunologyhttp://www.acaai.org
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases 301/496-5717 http://www.niaid.nih.gov
To find this and other JAMA Patient Pages, go to the Patient Page link
on JAMA's Web site at http://www.jama.com.
Many are available in English and Spanish.
Sources: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology; National
Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
The JAMA Patient Page is a public service of JAMA. The information and recommendations appearing on this page are appropriate
in most instances, but they are not a substitute for medical diagnosis. For
specific information concerning your personal medical condition, JAMA suggests that you consult your physician. This page may be photocopied
noncommercially by physicians and other health care professionals to share
with patients. Any other print or online reproduction is subject to AMA approval.
To purchase bulk reprints, call 718/946-7424.
Parmet S, Lynm C, Glass RM. Aspirin Sensitivity. JAMA. 2004;292(24):3098. doi:10.1001/jama.292.24.3098
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