Background: Subjects with aspirin-intolerant asthma (AIA) respond with bronchoconstriction and extrapulmonary adverse reactions to conventional nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that inhibit the cyclooxygenase (COX) step in the biosynthesis of prostaglandins. Recently, 2 isotypes of COX have been identified, and COX-2-selective NSAIDs have been developed for treatment of inflammatory disorders.
Objective: We investigated whether 33 subjects with a typical history of AIA tolerated the new COX-2-selective NSAID celecoxib.
Methods: All subjects displayed current aspirin sensitivity in oral or inhalation challenge tests. The subjects first underwent a double-blind, randomized, cross-over, increasing-dose challenge with placebo or celecoxib (10, 30, or 100 mg in suspension) on 2 occasions 7 days apart. Thereafter, all subjects were exposed to 400 mg of celecoxib administered during an open challenge session as two 200-mg doses 2 hours apart. Lung function, clinical symptoms, and urinary excretion of leukotriene E(4) (LTE(4)) were monitored, with the latter being a sensitive biochemical marker of aspirin intolerance.
Results: There were no changes in lung function or extrapulmonary symptoms during the double-blind sessions or in urinary excretion of LTE(4). Also, the highest recommended daily dose of celecoxib was well tolerated, with no symptoms, lung function changes, or alterations in urinary LTE(4) levels.
Conclusions: A group of subjects with clinically well-documented AIA tolerated acute challenge with the selective COX-2 inhibitor celecoxib. The findings indicate that the intolerance reaction in AIA is due to inhibition of COX-1. Large long-term studies of COX-2 inhibitors in AIA should be undertaken.