Condition: Aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) allergy

Aspirin/NSAIDs can cause allergic reactions whose symptoms include flushing, itchy rashes (hives) and skin swelling, blocked and runny nose, acute breathlessness/asthma as well as life-threatening anaphylaxis with collapse, loss of consciousness or even death.

What is an
aspirin and NSAID allergy?

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Aspirin are a class of drugs whose function is to reduce pain, decrease fever, inflammation and – in case of Aspirin – protect the heart. Aspirin/NSAIDs can cause allergic reactions whose symptoms include flushing, itchy rashes (hives) and skin swelling, blocked and runny nose, acute breathlessness/asthma as well as life-threatening anaphylaxis with collapse, loss of consciousness or even death.


What are the
common forms of this allergy?

The most common forms of Aspirin/NSAID allergy (hypersensitivity) include:

  • NSAID exacerbated respiratory disease (asthma, nasal polyps and Aspirin sensitivity also known as Samter’s triad) which is treated by avoiding Aspirin/NSAID, managing asthma and sinusitis medically and surgically (removal of nasal polyps). In the most severe cases, Aspirin desensitisation can potentially alleviate many symptoms and slow the regrowth of nasal polyps.
  • NSAID/Aspirin exacerbated skin disease (NSAID worsen the underlying urticaria and angioedema) or  induced skin skin disease (NSAID cause urticaria and angioedema)
  • NSAID/Aspirin induced anaphylaxis (NSAID cause rapid onset breathlessness, dizziness, vomiting, skin rashes, collapse/ loss of consciousness or even death)

Symptoms of
aspirin/NSAID allergy

The symptoms of allergy to aspirin or NSAIDs include itchy rashes (hives), flushing, a blocked or runny nose, and sometimes severe asthma.


Tests for
aspirin/NSAID allergy

There is no reliable blood or skin allergy test for confirming or excluding allergy to aspirin or NSAIDs, however some clinicians will confirm sensitivity by assessing your symptoms.


Treatment for
aspirin/NSAID allergy

Patients with this allergy might benefit from aspirin desensitisation, where you are given small oral doses of aspirin under medical supervision, while a cannula is inserted into a vein to treat any adverse reaction.


Aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) allergy Specialists

By having a complete and integrated team of sub-specialty experts under one roof we ensure that patients are seen by the right consultant at every appointment. Our skin health specialists cover a wide range of dermatological conditions, and our dedicated allergy specialists are recognised leaders in their field.