Aspirin desensitization: useful treatment for chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps (CRSwNP) in aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease (AERD)?

Ludger Klimek, Ralph Dollner, Oliver Pfaar, Joaquim Mullol
Current Allergy and Asthma Reports 2014, 14 (6): 441
Aspirin intolerance syndrome is due to disturbances in the arachidonic acid metabolism implicating both the lipoxygenase and cyclooxygenase pathways. This results in imbalances of eicosanoid, leukotriene and prostaglandin synthesis. Thus, preinflammatory cysteinyl leukotrienes increase and antiinflammatory prostaglandins (PG) such as PGE2 decrease. Clinically, intolerance reactions to nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can lead to different clinical manifestations; five phenotypes of the aspirin intolerance syndrome are listed in the ENDA classification. Aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease (AERD) is the most common phenotype characterized by an eosinophil-dominated inflammatory disease of the airways that presents clinically with nasal polyps, chronic sinusitis and bronchial asthma. About 34 % of patients with aspirin-induced asthma and rhinosinusitis are thought to have AERD. Important biochemical findings in many AERD patients are increased basal leukotriene levels (at least in cell cultures) that excessively increase after intake of COX-1 inhibitors. Aspirin desensitization uses the repetitive application of aspirin to induce a tolerance to NSAIDs, especially COX-1 inhibitors. After a dose-increase phase reaching a threshold dose, a dose-continuation phase is performed. For application, the nasal, bronchial, oral and intravenous routes have been described. Aspirin desensitization has been proven to be efficacious and safe and was able to reduce the need for other medications in AERD patients.

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