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Aspirin Desensitization for Treatment of AERD


Aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease (AERD) is a combination of asthma, chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps, and history of reactions to aspirin and other non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).  Patients with AERD who react to aspirin/NSAIDs develop increased nasal symptoms (runny nose, nasal congestion, sinus pressure), and respiratory symptoms (cough, wheezing, chest tightness, difficulty breathing).  Patients with AERD typically experience regrowth of nasal polyps, requiring multiple sinus surgeries.

What is Aspirin Desensitization?

Aspirin desensitization is a procedure performed in the office.  We start with very small doses of aspirin and gradually increase the dose during the 2-day procedure.  Reactions do occur during desensitization, but are controlled and limited, and are monitored closely by our nurses and doctors.  Lung function tests are performed every hour during the procedure.  Additional medications will be used to treat any reactions.  After completing aspirin desensitization, patients will take aspirin every day.

What are the Benefits of Aspirin Desensitization?

Aspirin therapy is the the most effective treatment for AERD.  Research has demonstrated that patients with AERD who undergo desensitization followed by daily aspirin therapy have improved asthma control, delayed regrowth of nasal polyps, and fewer nasal polyp surgeries.  Some patients can have improvement in their sense of smell and taste.