A recent study by the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology showed that 34 per cent of people diagnosed by their family doctor as having ASPIRIN hypersensitivity, do not have an ASPIRIN allergy.
This information is concerning, as ASPIRIN is often used as a simple medication for people suffering from various forms of heart disease. Ruling out a simple solution without a proper diagnoses from an allergist could be preventing some people from using an effective, low-cost medication that has few side effects.
“One issue with ASPIRIN or other types of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) is they are unpredictable,” says Dr. Collin Terpstra, an allergist with Peak Medical Specialty Centres.
Doctor Terpstra also added, that patients may react to NSAIDS at times when they are not well, but won’t react when they are feeling healthy.
“A Patient may need three doses of NSAIDS in a day to react to that drug, but their body is can handle one dose without any problems,” Dr. Terpstra said. “This can be the case with a lot of over the counter medications that give people an upset stomach, which gets misdiagnosed as an allergy.
Doctor Terpstra’s colleague at Peak Medical Specialty Centres, allergist Dr. Teresa Pun, agrees and says that a lot of the times patients simply bring up these symptoms during casual conversation with their family doctor – thus leading to a false diagnoses.
“The vast, vast majority of the time, these are not true drug allergies, but merely known side effects, complications or nonimmunologic reactions to the drug, that generally won’t lead to death,” says Dr, Pun.
She also added, that a false aspirin allergy can hurt cardiac patients – most of whom are elderly – because ASPIRIN is great at lowering the risk of cardiovascular events.
“The bottom line is all drug allergies need to be assessed by an allergist.”
If you have been told or you think you’re allergic to aspirin, penicillin or any other drug, talk you your doctor about seeing an allergist for confirmation of the allergy.
Peak Medical Specialty Centres has four allergists located in Calgary and Red Deer with appointments available in as little as one month. For more information on Peak Medical Specialty Centres, visit www.peakpulmonary.com