Division of Allergy & Immunology

Montefiore AERD and Drug Allergy Center

Image: Penicillin is one of many commonly prescribed drugs to which patients can have adverse reactions.

The Montefiore Aspirin Exacerbated Respiratory Disease (AERD) and Drug Allergy Center offers full evaluation services to treat both AERD and drug reactions.


Aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease (AERD) is a subset of asthma, associated with nasal polyposis and respiratory reactions to medications that inhibit cyclooxygenase 1 (COX-1). These commonly used, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) include aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, etc. Desensitization and treatment using carefully controlled administration of aspirin have been shown to be an effective therapy for many AERD patients, and long-term aspirin therapy has been reported to improve asthma control and prevent nasal polyp recurrence. Our AERD care includes a comprehensive evaluation by a team of allergists and otorhinolaryngology (ENT) doctors at the Comprehensive Sinus and Allergy Clinics (LINK).

Drug Allergy

The AERD and Drug Allergy Center offers tests to correctly diagnose whether or not a patient has AERD or is hypersensitive to a particular drug. Skin prick and patch testing may be used to test for allergic sensitivity, and in vitro blood testing may be implemented in certain cases. The Center's allergy/immunology faculty experts from Albert Einstein College of Medicine may then recommend a medication challenge to confirm the lack of allergy to a particular medication. If the patient is allergic, drug desensitization procedures are designed to develop a state of tolerance in the immune system.

Chemotherapy and Biological Allergy Evaluations

Patients suffering from allergic or adverse reactions to chemotherapy and biological agents are offered help at the Montefiore Cancer Center, where medication testing and desensitizations are taking place.

AERD and Drug Allergy Center faculty specialists treat adult and pediatric patients who may be referred by their physicians. Montefiore accepts Medicaid and Medicare as well as private insurance.


jerschow cropped 2 

Elina Jerschow, MD, MSc 
Associate Professor, Department of Medicine (Allergy & Immunology)
Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology & Immunology 



Merhunisa Karagic, MD 

Comprehensive Sinus and Allergy Clinic at Montefiore

Chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the sinonasal mucosa. CRS affects as many as 31 million Americans and is a common reason for outpatient referral to an otorhinolaryngologist. It has long been known that CRS has a strong association with other immune-mediated comorbidities including asthma, atopy, and allergy. Consequently, many of these patients will require referral to both an otolaryngologist and an allergist/immunologist.

Other conditions beyond allergic rhinoconjunctivitis may also benefit from a collaborative approach between otolaryngologists and allergists. A subset of patients with CRS with nasal polyposis may have underlying aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease (AERD). Other patients with chronic nasal symptoms might have local allergic rhinitis (LAR).

Montefiore Comprehensive Sinus and Allergy Clinic (CSAC) offers an interdisciplinary care for evaluation and treatment of environmental allergies, sinusitis, nasal polyps, and asthma. The goals of the CSAC are to provide a more efficient access to Rhinology and Allergy/Immunology specialists, to enhance patient satisfaction, and to optimize the management of conditions requiring a comprehensive evaluation including AERD and LAR.

Comprehensive Sinus and Allergy Clinic at Montefiore is lead by a team of allergists (Denisa Ferastraoaru, MD, and Elina Jerschow, MD) and otorhinolaryngologists (Waleed Abuzeid, MBBS and Nadeem Akbar, MD).

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