Ask Dr. Gary: Ibuprofen risks for asthmatics

Is it safe for kids with asthma to take Ibuprofen? -LK

Doctors used to think ibuprofen was potentially dangerous for all asthmatics, period. Recent research has refined this a bit.

We now know that ibuprofen is safe for the vast majority of asthmatics, just not the 2 per cent who are "NSAID-sensitive". NSAIDs are non-steroidal anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen/Nurofen, diclofenac and aspirin.

How does anyone know if they are NSAID-sensitive? Well, they take ibuprofen and if it causes an asthma attack, then they are NSAID-sensitive.

It is circular logic, but the main point is that if you have had problems with NSAIDs, stay away from them. And if you have not had problems with NSAIDs, you will likely be fine taking ibuprofen, even if you are an asthmatic.

Other medications that asthmatics should take into consideration include beta-blockers and aspirin.

Many high blood pressure medications, migraine medicines and even eye drops for glaucoma contain beta-blockers.

If your asthma has become worse since starting a medicine, consult your GP.

Beta-blockers can provoke severe attacks in asthmatics, but luckily numerous good alternatives exist.

Aspirin is another form of NSAID that can provoke asthma attacks in aspirin-sensitive asthmatics. Avoidance of aspirin, and aspirin-containing substances like Bonjela and oil of wintergreen, is one option. Desensitisation treatments are another.

- Hamilton News

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