Aspirin therapy in aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease: A risk-benefit analysis for the practicing allergist

Troy W. Baker*, James M. Quinn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


This study was designed to investigate the risks associated with aspirin (ASA) therapy that is used in high doses for the treatment of ASA-exacerbated respiratory disease (AERD) and to review therapeutic strategies for the prevention of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)-induced side effects. A PubMed search was performed using the key words "aspirin" and "adverse effects." Additional citations were generated by surveying the reference lists of the pulled articles. More than 120 articles were reviewed and references were selected based on their relevance to the subject matter. Prevalence rates of ASA hypersensitivity in the general population have been reported to be 0.6-2.5%. Asthmatic patients have higher rates of ASA hypersensitivity. The allergy/immunology specialty is unique in the use of prolonged high-dose ASA therapy for the treatment of AERD. ASA use is associated with an increased risk for the development of serious gastrointestinal (GI) events including GI bleeding, ulcers, and perforation. Established risk factors for GI ulcer development include advanced age, history of ulcer or GI bleed, concomitant use of corticosteroids or anticoagulants, high-dose ASA/NSAID therapy, and possibly concomitant Helicobacter pylori infection. Effective strategies to prevent GI complications include initiation of a proton pump inhibitor (PPI), misoprostol, or double dose H 2-receptor antagonists (H 2RAs) at the start of ASA therapy. Allergist/immunologists are involved in treatment decisions regarding high-dose ASA use in AERD. The primary risk of using ASA therapy is the development of GI complications. Cotherapy with a PPI, misoprostol, or double dose H 2RAs can reduce GI complications associated with high-dose ASA therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-340
Number of pages6
JournalAllergy and Asthma Proceedings
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2011
Externally publishedYes


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