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Case Report


Prawns, Barnacles, and Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs: Effect Modifiers or Interaction?


C Vidal,1 B Bartolomé,2 A González-Quintela,3 V Rodríguez,1 M Armisén1

1 Departments of Allergy, Complejo Hospitalario Universitario de Santiago, Santiago de Compostela, Spain
2 Research and Development Department, Bial-Arístegui, Bilbao, Spain
3 Department of Internal Medicine, Complejo Hospitalario Universitario de Santiago, Santiago de Compostela, Spain

J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol 2007; Vol. 17(2): 113-118



A 42-year-old woman with no history of atopy reported several episodes of generalized urticaria and shortness of breath after eating shellfish (prawns and barnacles) but with good tolerance of the same foods between episodes. Skin prick tests (SPTs), serum enzyme allergosorbent tests (EAST) for specific immunoglobulin (Ig) E, Western blot and inhibition assays, and oral challenge tests with prawns, barnacles, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and alcohol as potential effect modifiers were performed.
Specific IgE to both barnacle and prawn were detected by SPTs and EAST. Results from a Western blot of raw prawn revealed an IgE binding band of 37 kDa and IgE binding bands of 143, 83, 38, 32, and 20 kDa appeared in the raw barnacle assay. Oral challenge tests were positive with prawns and prawn extract only if preceded by NSAIDs. Oral challenges with NSAIDs alone, prawns alone, barnacles with or without NSAIDs and alcohol led to no reaction.
A synergistic effect of NSAIDs in inducing anaphylaxis after prawn intake was confi rmed. No similar effect was achieved with barnacles despite the presence of specific IgE. Additional factors needed to elicit a clinical reaction in food allergy may not be obvious and several oral challenge protocols are mandatory in such cases.

Key words: Barnacle. Nonsteroidal anti-infl ammatory drugs. Prawn. Cross-reaction. Food allergy.