Aspirin Sensitivity

We usually keep Aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications in our home medical cabinets. These medications have effectively treated pain, inflammation, and fevers in adults and children.

These medications can have adverse side effects in certain persons. Swelling, severe abdominal pain, or trouble breathing after taking Aspirin may indicate aspirin sensitivity. Therefore, paying attention to any unexpected reactions to these otherwise helpful drugs is crucial.

At Juniper Allergy in San Antonio, we specialize in providing individualized medical care to both adults and children suffering from allergies.

Symptoms Of Aspirin Sensitivity

Aspirin sensitivity can manifest in varying degrees, from mild to severe. Generally, the body reacts within the initial hour of consumption, and possible symptoms can include the following:

  • Rashes, itching, or hives
  • Flushing or swelling
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Breathing difficulties, wheezing, and coughing
  • A feeling of nausea or pain in the abdomen
  • Anaphylactic reactions

Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that necessitates immediate medical attention, although it is relatively rare.

The symptoms of an anaphylactic episode include difficulty breathing, a swollen throat, a bothersome skin rash, inflammation, feelings of nausea, abdominal discomfort, a sudden drop in blood pressure, a weak and rapid heartbeat, dizziness, confusion, and fatigue.

Obtaining medical assistance is critical if these symptoms are present since untreated anaphylaxis might be life-threatening. These signs must be treated as a medical emergency for immediate relief.

Individuals sensitive to Aspirin may develop long-term health problems, such as asthma and recurring nasal polyps.

In cases where these symptoms manifest together with aspirin sensitivity, the condition is referred to as aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease (AERD) or Samter’s Triad. 

This chronic ailment usually affects adults; if left untreated, it can deteriorate over time. Patients with AERD frequently lose their sense of smell.

It’s important to differentiate between the side effects of Aspirin or other NSAIDs and genuine aspirin sensitivity. While symptoms may overlap, looking for indicators not explicitly listed on the drug label is crucial. Only then can we accurately assess and address any potential issues.

Causes of Aspirin Sensitivity

Numerous nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may result in an individual exhibiting sensitivity to Aspirin.

  • Aspirin (found in brands like Excedrin)
  • Motrin or Advil are brands of Ibuprofen (found in these medications)
  • Naproxen (brand-named Aleve)
  • Ketoprofen

Diagnosis and Treatment of Aspirin Sensitivity

Our experienced specialists at Juniper Allergy are well-equipped to diagnose and treat aspirin sensitivity and AERD. During your initial consultation, we will thoroughly discuss your medical history, including past reactions, symptoms, and emergency treatments.

A physical examination will also be performed to gather more information. In cases where the initial discussion and analysis do not provide a clear answer, an oral challenge test may be recommended by your physician.

We must thoroughly understand your allergies, medical history, and family history, especially if AERD is suspected. At Juniper Allergy, we prioritize ensuring our patients receive personalized and effective care.

To determine whether you are sensitive to Aspirin, your doctor will conduct an oral challenge test, which involves taking small doses at regular intervals over a while. Throughout the trial, your physician and healthcare team will closely monitor you for any adverse reactions to the medication.

This test must be performed in a clinical setting with physician supervision for safety reasons. If you complete the oral challenge without experiencing any adverse symptoms, your physician may be able to rule out aspirin sensitivity.

If you have any adverse reactions throughout the test, the challenge will be terminated immediately, and you will be diagnosed with aspirin sensitivity. During this time, it is critical that you strictly adhere to your doctor’s instructions.
When diagnosed with aspirin sensitivity, your allergy specialist will work alongside you to develop a personalized treatment plan.

The plan will include strategies to prevent symptoms by avoiding Aspirin and managing symptoms as they arise. Managing symptoms will likely involve carrying a self-injectable epinephrine prescription at all times to combat anaphylactic reactions.

Administering this medication promptly can save a life and provide temporary relief until professional medical help is accessible. It’s imperative to remember that even if you have administered an EpiPen, seeking emergency medical attention is still necessary if symptoms persist.

Managing and preventing symptoms of aspirin sensitivity requires avoiding Aspirin and other NSAIDs. Certain medications offer distinct advantages in terms of pain management and inflammation reduction. Aspirin desensitisation may be a viable alternative if deemed appropriate by a medical professional.

It involves gradually increasing the dose of Aspirin until a therapeutic dose is tolerated. It must be done under the supervision of your allergist in a healthcare setting. Once a therapeutic amount is reached, it must be taken daily. Discontinuing Aspirin requires repeating the desensitisation process.

If diagnosed with AERD, medications will be prescribed to better control nasal and asthma symptoms. Nasal polyp removal may also be necessary with an ENT doctor. Aspirin desensitisation can also help reduce the severity of symptoms.

Contact Us

Selecting the appropriate healthcare provider is a challenging task. However, we empathise with your concerns and are here to extend our support. Our accomplished physician is accessible to address any questions you may have. You can approach us without hesitation through phone or email to book a consultation.
We look forward to your response.
Author: Dr. Amanda Trott, MD
NPI number: 1568653756
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