Jonathan D. Mozena, MD

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Aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease: An easy-to-overlook diagnosis

July 01, 2006

Abstract: Patients who have aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease (AERD) usually experience upper and lower respiratory tract symptoms about 1Z|x to 2 hours after taking aspirin or another NSAID that inhibits the enzyme cyclooxygenase-1. In addition to symptoms such as nasal congestion, rhinorrhea, paroxysmal sneezing, periorbital edema, laryngospasm, and intense flushing, patients may have severe--often life-threatening--exacerbations of asthma. AERD occurs in about 10% to 20% of patients with asthma and in about 30% of asthmatic patients with nasal polyposis. However, AERD also occurs in patients who do not have any of these predispos- ing conditions. In patients with AERD, aspirin desensitization can improve asthma control, reduce the need for corticosteroids, and reduce the need for sinus surgery. (J Respir Dis. 2006;27(7):282-290)