SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA. Australian researchers have just completed a study to determine the prevalence of aspirin-induced asthma attacks among patients with asthma. They evaluated the results of 21 studies and found that 29% of all adult asthmatics and 5% of all children with asthma were sensitive to aspirin and would have an attack within 3 hours of consuming as little as 80 mg of aspirin. Aspirin-sensitive asthmatics were also invariably sensitive to NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, naproxen and diclofenac, but only 7% were also sensitive to acetaminophen (Tylenol, Paracetamol). Since aspirin-induced asthma can potentially be life- threatening the researchers recommend that all asthma patients undergo carefully controlled provocation testing before being prescribed aspirin or NSAIDs. In view of the fact that many patients take aspirin purchased over the counter they also suggest that warnings be placed on the packaging for aspirin and NSAIDs alerting asthmatics to the potential risks.
Jenkins, C, et al. Systematic review of prevalence of aspirin induced asthma and its implications for clinical practice. British Medical Journal, Vol. 328, February 21, 2004, pp. 434-37