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Metabisulfite Sensitivity in Asthma: A Review

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Sulfiting agents including sodium and potassium bisulfite and metabisulfite, sulfur dioxide, and sodium sulfate are recently identified food and drug adverse responsible for adverse reactions such as flushing, tingling, pruritis, urticaria, glottic edema, dysphagia, chest tightness, acute bronchospasm, cyanosis, and loss of consciousness. Foods which contain metabisulfite are listed in Table I. Metabisulfites are also present in some drugs such as aerosolized bronchodilators. The pathogenic mechanism is unknown. Approximately 3-5% of the asthmatic population reacts adversely to these sulfites. The FDA has recently recognized this potential hazard and a ban on the use of sulfiting agents in restaurants is being considered.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Harvard Medical School and Children's Hospital Medical Center

Publication date: March 1, 1983

More about this publication?
  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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