Settipane 1975: Aspirin intolerance. III. Subtypes, familial occurrence, and cross-reactivity with tartrazine

Yellow Cupcake, Copyright: cheryledavis / 123RF Stock PhotoJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 1975. Sep;56(3): 215-21

The authors presented their evidence that in aspirin intolerance there are two mechanisms – one causing bronchospasm (breathing difficulty such as in asthma) and the other causing urticaria (hives).

They also discussed the cross-reaction between aspirin and tartrazine (Yellow 5), and conducted a double-blind study to determine how often this happens.  They found that 15% of the 40 aspirin-intolerant subjects reacted to tartrazine, while none of the controls did.

NOTE:  The authors estimated (in 1975) that the maximum per capita ingestion of Yellow 5 was 16.3 mg per day; nevertheless, in their own study they used only 0.22 to 0.44 mg — in other words, the most they used was 1/40th the amount they knew may be actually encountered by real people.  Even so, 15% of their subjects had reactions!

QUOTE:  “The fact that the type of symptom produced by tartrazine was similar to that produced by aspirin may mean that the same type of biochemical abnormality may be present.  … However, the molecular structure of tartrazine is vastly different than that of aspirin …”

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Some other older studies on salicylates and dermatitis:

  • Paul 1987: Skin reactions to food and food constituents–allergic and pseudoallergic reactions
  • Chudwin 1986:  Sensitivity to non-acetylated salicylates in a patient with asthma, nasal polyps, and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Galland 1986:  Increased requirements for essential fatty acids in atopic individuals: A review with clinical descriptions.
  • Genton 1985: Value of oral provocation tests to aspirin and food additives in the routine investigation of asthma and chronic urticaria
  • Kemp 1985: An elimination diet for chronic urticaria of childhood
  • Villaveces 1985:  Experience with an elemental diet (Vivonex).
  • Guin 1982: Treatment of urticaria
  • Illig 1981:  Urticaria and “aspirin intolerance” – part of an interdisciplinary pathogenetic principle?
  • Gibson 1980: Management of chronic idiopathic urticaria by the identification and exclusion of dietary factors
  • Ros 1976:  A follow-up study of patients with recurrent urticaria and hypersensitivity to aspirin, benzoates and azo dyes.
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