Designed for health professionals, the guidelines propose detailed protocols for challenge tests. The paper is endorsed by the European Academy of Allergology and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) and GA²LEN partners.
Most people tolerate aspirin very well. For others, however, aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs trigger allergy-like asthma, sinusitis or urticaria. Reactions can be as violent and life-threatening as asthma attacks and anaphylaxis.
Hypersensitivity to aspirin has been observed since early 20th century. Today, it is one of the most common adverse reactions to a medicinal product. It is however largely under-diagnosed.
A challenge test is the only way to identify aspirin sensitivity. The patient is administered small doses of aspirin that are regularly increased, under direct supervision of a physician in a clinical environment. Hypersensitivity to aspirin is recognised when the patient’s lung function is depressed by more than 20%.
“We hope this position paper will enable physicians to proceed with diagnosis,” concludes Prof. Szczeklik, the main author of the paper. A long list of non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs for common indications, such as headache, is contraindicated to hypersensitive patients. “A proper diagnosis will have a real benefit for them as they will be directed by their doctors to alternative medication that are completely safe to take, without any side-effect.”
While at least 0.5% of the general population is known to suffer from aspirin sensitivity, asthmatics are especially likely to be affected. According to a recent study, about 20% of asthmatic adults are hypersensitive to aspirin.
Noélie Auvergne | alfa
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