Nasal polyps are soft, fleshy growths appearing in the inner lining of the nasal passage or along the sinuses. They usually occur in older people above the age of 40 but when present in children, they could be symptoms of other illnesses such as cystic fibrosis. Nasal polyps are non-cancerous and harmless in themselves. However, if they are too numerous or large, they can block nasal drainage, cause breathing problems, infections, allergies, sleeplessness, pain, headaches, vision disturbances. Symptoms are commonly confused with cold/congestion. Few known causes exist for their occurrence. Treatment: non-invasive topical cortico-steroid sprays, home remedies and surgery in severe cases.
In patients where the nasal polyps do not seem to respond to the above protocol (or if patient is refusing surgery), the addition of a very strong drug called Zyflo (zileuton) may be of benefit. This drug can cause liver damage (in <10% of patients) and as such, liver function bloodwork (AST/ALT) is required every month for 3 months and yearly thereafter. As long as the AST/ALT numbers do not exceed 150 (yes, it is higher than what is considered normal), it is generally considered safe to continue with this drug (though would check bloodwork weekly if that happens to ensure stability). Getting an immunologist involved in the care of such patients would also be beneficial, especially for those patients where the nasal polyps are particularly resistant to standard treatment.