| Aspirin Exacerbated Respiratory Disease (AERD)

Patients with this condition typically have a triad of chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps, asthma and respiratory reaction after ingesting aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). It is usually diagnosed in adulthood, the three components of the disorder tend to develop serially over a period of years.

Reactions to Aspirin or other NSAIDs typically begin 30 minutes to 3 hours after ingestion of these medications, the severity of symptoms vary from minimal to severe. Symptoms may include:

  • Nasal or eye symptoms including nasal congestions, runny nose, eye swelling and eye irritation

  • Asthmatic symptoms include wheezing, shortness of breath, cough and chest tightness

Want to learn more about asthma and asthmatic symptoms? Read our Asthma Resource Guide.

Patients with AERD usually have seasonal or pet dander allergies. They also often report that alcoholic beverages induce symptoms in the nose and lungs as well. However, development of hives or swelling after ingesting aspirin or other NSAIDs does not qualify for AERD.

How is it diagnosed?

Your board-certified allergist will take a thorough history and diagnose it clinically as well as perform a physical exam looking for nasal polyps and assessing your lung function. Sometimes an aspirin challenge is performed in a safe clinic setting to monitor for symptoms after ingestion. Other forms of adverse reactions associated with aspirin or NSAID use can also be worked up by your board-certified allergist.

How is it treated?

Aspirin desensitization is a technique that can be beneficial in these patients which is followed by daily aspirin therapy to help reduce severity of the disease. Your board-certified allergist will also manage your asthma and chronic sinusitis appropriately to reduce flares. Patients with AERD should avoid Aspirin and other NSAIDs that increase their troubles unless they undergo the aspirin desensitization and daily aspirin therapy.