Long-term treatment with aspirin desensitization in asthmatic patients with aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease

M Pilar Berges-Gimeno, Ronald A Simon, Donald D Stevenson
Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 2003, 111 (1): 180-6

BACKGROUND: Aspirin desensitization treatment is an option to decrease disease activity and reduce the need for systemic corticosteroids in patients with aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease (AERD).

OBJECTIVE: This study was designed to determine whether the clinical courses of patients with AERD improved as early as 6 months after starting aspirin desensitization and to compare this with follow-up evaluations after at least a year.

METHODS: Between 1995 and 2000, 172 patients with AERD were admitted to our General Clinical Research Center, were desensitized to and treated with aspirin, were discharged to their home communities, and participated in follow-up interviews and written assessments of their clinical courses.

RESULTS: By the first 6 months of aspirin treatment, there were significant reductions in sinus infections and numbers of short courses of prednisone and improvements in sense of smell and general assessment of nasal-sinus and asthma symptoms (P <.0001). These results persisted for 1 to 5 years (P <.0001). Mean prednisone doses decreased from 10.8 mg/d to 8.1 and 3.6 mg/d at 6 months and greater than 1 year, respectively. Of the 172 patients, 24 (14%) discontinued aspirin treatment because of side effects, and 115 (67%) responded to aspirin treatment. After eliminating those who discontinued aspirin treatment because of side effects, the improvement rate was 115 (78%) of 148 patients. Of the 126 patients who completed a year or more of aspirin treatment, 110 (87%) experienced improvement.

CONCLUSION: Aspirin desensitization followed by daily aspirin is efficacious by at least the first 6 months of treatment and continues to be effective for up to 5 years of follow-up.

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