Aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug hypersensitivity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) or aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) sensitivities encompass a diverse group of both pharmacological and hypersensitivity reactions. Conventionally, hypersensitivities include aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease (AERD), ASA-induced urticaria, and anaphylaxis. With an increasing prevalence of coronary artery disease in an aging population, aspirin continues to play a significant role in cardiac prophylaxis in a large patient population. Invariably, the clinician will encounter patients with clear indications for aspirin therapy but a history of aspirin sensitivity. Although protocols have been established for aspirin challenge and desensitization, it is not always an efficacious or safe procedure. This article reviews the different classifications of ASA/NSAIDs hypersensitivities to better guide the clinician in dealing with this patient population. History of crossrelativities between multiple NSAIDs implies a non-IgE-mediated process. Similarly, a history of monosensitivity to one NSAID implies an IgE-mediated process, although specific antibodies are often elusive. Despite the name, AERD can potentially be exacerbated by all cyclooxygenase (COX) inhibitors based on dose-dependent inhibition of COX-1. Aspirin desensitization can be achieved to improve both upper and lower respiratory symptoms for most patient with AERD. Aspirin desensitization can usually be achieved for those in need of the antiplatelet effects of aspirin, with the exception of those with aspirin-induced urticaria and baseline chronic urticaria. However, desensitization should only be attempted in those with stable coronary artery disease because the process of desensitization carries the inherent risk of anaphylaxis/anaphylactoid reaction, which may further increase cardiac demand and bring about ischemic injury. Therefore, desensitization is reserved until coronary artery disease is stabilized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-109
Number of pages13
JournalClinical Reviews in Allergy and Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2007


  • Adverse events
  • Anaphylactoid
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Angioedema
  • Arachadonic acid
  • Aspirin
  • Aspirin exacerbated respiratory disease
  • Cyclooxygenases
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Leukotrienes
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Sensitivity
  • Urticaria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy


Dive into the research topics of 'Aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug hypersensitivity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this