Allergic and non-allergic hypersensitivity to non-opioid analgesics, antipyretics and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in children: epidemiology, clinical aspects, pathophysiology, diagnosis and prevention
Archives de Pediatrie Organe Officiel de la Societe Francaise de Pediatrie 19(5): 556-560
Non-opioid analgesics, antipyretics and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are widely used, but suspected allergic reactions to these drugs are rare, especially in children. Most frequent reactions are cutaneous (urticaria, angioedema) and respiratory (rhinitis, asthma). Other reactions (anaphylaxis, potentially harmful toxidermias) are rare. In a few patients, reactions may result from a specific (allergic) hypersensitivity, with positive responses in prick and intradermal tests (anaphylaxis, immediate urticaria and/or angioedema) and in intradermal and patch tests (non-immediate reactions). However, most reactions result from a non-specific (non-allergic) hypersensitivity (intolerance), with a frequent cross-reactivity between the various families of analgesics, antipyretics and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, including paracetamol. Based on a convincing clinical history and/or positive responses in challenge tests, intolerance to non-opioid analgesics, antipyretics and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs has been diagnosed in 13 to 50% of the patients with allergic-like reactions to these drugs. Risk factors are a personal atopy and age. Prevention is based on administration of other (families of) analgesics, antipyretics and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in patients with allergic hypersensitivity to these drugs. In patients with non-allergic hypersensitivity, prevention is based on administration of drugs with a low cyclo-oxygenase-1 inhibitory activity (if tolerated). Desensitization is efficient in patients with respiratory reactions, but does not work in patients with mucocutaneous reactions and anaphylaxis.