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Aspirin and Reye's Syndrome

W. PAUL GLEZEN, MD
Am J Dis Child. 1982;136(11):971-972. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1982.03970470015002.
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Reye's syndrome is a condition affecting children that is manifested by cerebral edema and fatty infiltration of the viscera without evidence of an inflammatory response in these organs. Mortality in recent series has ranged from 23% to 41%, but the annual risk of this syndrome developing is only four to seven per 1 million for children younger than 18 years of age. Reye's syndrome is characterized clinically by persistent vomiting and an altered state of consciousness that develops three to seven days after onset of a viral infection—usually influenza or varicella. The problem, as it has been defined during the last 20 years, is well described in a review by Sullivan-Bolyai and Corey.1

A series of case-control studies have been reported that suggest that the administration of aspirin to children during the prodromal viral infection increases the risk for development of this devastating but rare condition.2-5 Although case-control

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