Australia. Hypersensitivity to acetylsalicylic acid is more frequent in patients with asthma. Analysis of reports received by the Australian Adverse Drug Reactions Advisory Committee indicates that, out of 47 cases of bronchospasm associated with the ingestion of acetylsalicylic acid, 30 patients had a history of asthma and 16 of these patients were known to be allergic to acetylsalicylic acid.
It is important for patients to be aware of the risks associated with this class of drugs. In particular, patients with acetylsalicylic acid hypersensitivity, especially if they are asthmatic, should be aware that acetylsalicylic acid can trigger bronchospasm. They may also not realise that other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are pharmacologically related to acetylsalicylic acid and can cause the same adverse reactions, especially in those who have had a previous allergy to acetylsalicylic acid.
With the increased availability of NSAIDs over-the-counter, there is an increased potential for adverse reactions. While consumer product information may help to warn patients about cross-sensitivity, health professionals can also alert patients they know to be hypersensitive.
Reference: Australian Prescriber 20(4): 90 (1997).