Aspirin Desensitization Treatment is something that in all honesty should not really make a lot of sense. Every patient with this disease has a reaction to aspirin. The reaction usually is a lot of nose and eye allergy symptoms as well as asthma and breathing problems. So it hardly makes any sense to take more of something that causes this to happen. But in numerous medical studies, it really seems to work and be helpful for patients. Since its discovery at Scripps Clinic in the 1980’s, hundreds of patients have participated in medical studies regarding aspirin desensitization. These studies show that in patients who take daily aspirin for AERD, they have less rapid polyp formation, some improvement in their sense of smell, less asthma problems and less need for steroid bursts. So it seems like a good treatment option for patients to consider.
In order to allow the body to accept aspirin, a desensitization procedure has to be done. This is always done under medical supervision in a special clinic or as an inpatient in the hospital. Depending on the protocol it is done over 1-3 days. Most patients should expect to get some symptoms from an aspirin reaction during the desensitization. Once the desensitization is complete the doctor will recommend a dose of aspirin to be sent home on long term. Once the patient is taking daily aspirin at the recommended dose, the treatment phase is begun. At this point, hopefully the patient is starting to get benefit and notice improvement.
Obviously there are a lot of things that need to go into the decision to do aspirin desensitization. But for patients that have had a need for repeat surgery, high steroid requirements, or an overall miserable quality of life this is a treatment worth considering.
More and more allergists around the country are offering this procedure, and there are a few specialized centers around the country to do frequent aspirin desensitization and conduct research in AERD and aspirin desensitization.