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What happens when Asthmatics consume Aspirin?

One of the commonest and most troublesome disease affecting millions world wide is asthma. Asthmatics not only suffer from the usual symptoms of the disease but they are unfortunate in more ways than one. It is common knowledge that asthmatics are warned to stay away from aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. What happens when they take aspirin? And further more if consuming aspirin is contra indicated in asthmatics, what happens if a situation arises if it is imperative to give aspirin to an asthmatic? These questions are answered by a study conducted by two doctors of Indian origin Dr. Suresh Babu, MD, DNB; and Dr. Sundeep S. Salvi, MD, DNB, PhD, From the Department of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology, University of Southampton, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton, UK.

In a path breaking research, the two doctors have extensively studied the syndrome called aspirin induced asthma (AIA). When exposed to the offending drug, asthmatics develop a triad of symptoms- rhinitis, sinusitis, and asthma. But apart from being one of the most prescribed drugs in the world, aspirin is also extensively used in the prophylaxis of ischemic heart diseases and strokes. When a situation arises that an asthmatic is in dire need of being administered aspirin, the researchers say aspirin desensitization can be tried. This involves the use of leukotrienes (LT) modifying drugs, which block the bronchoconstriction provoked by aspirin.

Aspirin desensitization has a role in the management of AIA, especially in patients who need prophylaxis from thromboembolic diseases, myocardial infarction, and stroke. With this finding asthmatics and their doctors can rest easy if a situation arises that demands treatment with aspirin. So shall we say aspirin is no longer taboo for asthmatics?

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