Aspirin Sensitivity

What is it?

Aspirin Exacerbated Respiratory Disease

Aspirin Exacerbated Respiratory Disease (AERD), also known as Samter’s Triad or aspirin-sensitive asthma, is a chronic medical condition that affects patients with asthma. Patients with AERD present with asthma, recurrent sinus infections and nasal polyps, and sensitivity to aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Usually, the first symptom is nasal inflammation with sneezing, a runny nose, congestion, and often a reduced sense of smell. Later, asthma develops and then the polyps occur inside the nose. Polyps can cause sinusitis, post-nasal drip and obstruction of the airways.

Finally, aspirin sensitivity develops. This can be serious and can trigger asthma attacks and anaphylaxis (an acute whole body allergic reaction). Patients often also react to other aspirin-type anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen and Naproxen, although acetaminophen is typically safe as long as it is not used in high doses.

Who does it affect?

Approximately 10 percent of all adults with asthma and 40 percent of patients with asthma and nasal polyps are sensitive to aspirin and NSAIDs. However, this does not necessarily mean that they will develop AERD, but rather that they are at increased risk for the disease. People are most likely to develop AERD in their 20s or 30s, but it can develop at any time.

What causes it?

The cause of this condition is unknown, although in some cases there is a genetic component. Current research suggests that the AERD may be caused by excessive production of leukotrienes, which are chemicals involved in the body’s inflammatory response.

How is it diagnosed?

AERD is a clinical diagnosis, meaning that there is no specific diagnostic test that confirms the diagnosis. However, it can be difficult to diagnose because every patient may not have all three conditions at the same time. Providers may order a Sinus CT scan to look for the presence of nasal polyps and order blood tests as AERD can cause an increase in certain types of white blood cells.

There are many options available when it comes to treatment and we are happy to work with patients to develop a treatment plan that works with their needs and lifestyle.


We’d love to meet with you to address your allergy concerns.



Doctors Building, Suite 215
500 S. University Avenue
Little Rock, Arkansas 72205


Clinic Office: 501-420-1085
Fax: 501-420-1457


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