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Drugs. 1993;46 Suppl 1:115-20.

Efficacy and tolerability of nimesulide in asthmatic patients intolerant to aspirin.

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Institute of Cardiovascular and Respiratory Diseases, University of Milan, Italy.


Inflammation of the airways accompanied by eosinophil infiltration appears to play a fundamental role in the pathogenesis of bronchial asthma. Therefore, anti-inflammatory agents (at present corticosteroids, cromoglycate and nedocromil) are the first-line treatment for this condition. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) and indomethacin, however, have never been used in this setting, mainly for fear of adverse effects (e.g. severe obstructive reactions); these can occur, in a consistent number of patients as a consequence (according to the most widely accepted theory) of inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis. In a double-blind crossover placebo-controlled study involving 20 aspirin-sensitive patients with asthma, we found that oral nimesulide 100mg was well tolerated both clinically and functionally (no significant changes in forced expiratory volume in 1 second and specific airway resistance after drug intake). In a more recent study, we observed a mild obstructive reaction (easily controlled with inhaled bronchodilators) after oral administration of nimesulide 400mg to 3 patients who had previously tolerated a 100mg dose. On the basis of clinical experience, nimesulide (unlike most other NSAIDs) in the recommended doses appears to be well tolerated in aspirin-sensitive asthmatic patients. Furthermore, this distinctive anti-inflammatory agent might provide a novel approach to the treatment of bronchial asthma.

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