Treatments for AERD
Treatments for AERD (Samter's Triad)
Getting the Right Treatment
Aspirin Exacerbated Respiratory Disease (AERD, Samter's Triad) is difficult to treat, but most patients do find some relief with the right combination of treatments. Most AERD patients take several medications on a daily basis. Aspirin desensitization is the most effective known treatment for AERD, but there are a variety of other medications that may be helpful.
Unfortunately, it is common for AERD patients to be treated by doctors who are not familiar with the best treatments for the disease. Some patients are treated for years with antihistamines or allergy shots, which have limited benefit for AERD. Others endure repeated bursts of oral steroids in between sinus surgeries. The best thing you can do to improve your quality of life is find an expert.
Finding what works best for you can be a frustrating process of trial and error, but hang in there! There's no single treatment that works for everyone, but the below guidelines may be helpful.
Immunotherapy (allergy shots)
About half of AERD patients do have environmental allergies in addition to AERD. If you have environmental allergies, antihistamines and immunotherapy may provide some benefit. Unfortunately, controlling environmental allergies is generally not enough to provide significant relief. AERD is a chronic immune dysregulation and is not caused by environmental allergies. Many patients do suffer from recurrent sinus infections requiring the use of antibiotics. However, AERD is not caused by a bacterial infection and treating the infection will not stop the progression of the disease.
Types of Medications
Corticosteroids are one of the primary types of medication used to control the symptoms of asthma and nasal polyps. Steroid medications come in various forms - inhalers, nasal sprays, tablets, and even injections. Rinsing or soaking with budesonide has helped many AERD patients manage the symptoms of nasal polyps.
Leukotriene modifiers, such as Singulair (montelukast) and Zyflo (zileuton) work by blocking or altering the action of leukotrienes, inflammatory substances in the body that contribute to the symptoms of AERD.
Biologic medications, such as Xolair and Nucala, are administered by injection. These drugs are designed to inhibit specific components of the immune system that play roles in fueling inflammation.
Aspirin desensitization, followed by daily aspirin therapy, is the most effective known treatment for AERD. Studies have found that the majority of AERD patients who get desensitized and maintain daily aspirin therapy have improvement in their symptoms and are able to reduce their use of steroids and other medications. Aspirin therapy has been shown to reduce polyp growth and the need for additional sinus surgeries.
Unfortunately, not every medication will work for every person. Even if a medication works well, you may experience side effects and need to find alternatives.
Learn more about the treatments available by visiting each of the pages below.
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