ASA triad (also known as Samter’s Triad) is characterized by nasal polyps, asthma and aspirin intolerance. This aspirin intolerance is not a simple allergic reaction to aspirin. Patients with this condition develop a special rash and/or asthmatic reaction, which can be life threatening, when they take aspirin or aspirin-related drugs (ibuprofen, others). Because of this type of reaction, some patients with nasal polyps and asthma are often advised to avoid aspirin, even if they have never had a reaction to aspirin.
Patients with ASA triad have severe asthma and rhinosinusitis. Even after appropriate sinus surgery, the polyps can return. Optimal treatment includes sinus surgery and medical management. Most patients with ASA triad require systemic and topical corticosteroids. Good asthma treatment is critical as well. Some centers employ aspirin desensitization, a specific technique to create aspirin tolerance, which seems to improve both the asthma and the rhinosinusitis.