The role of patient training in the management of seasonal rhinitis and asthma: clinical implications


Giovanni Passalacqua, Allergy and Respiratory Diseases, DIMI, Pad. Maragliano, L.go R. Benzi 10, I-16132 Genoa, Italy


Background: Allergic rhinitis is an inflammatory disease often associated with bronchial asthma. Intranasal corticosteroids and oral antihistamines are the first-choice drugs. Patient training is relevant to asthma management, but little is known about its impact on rhinitis. We evaluated the role of patient training in the treatment of allergic rhinitis and its effects on nasal and bronchial symptoms.

Methods: One hundred and one patients (M/F=62/39, age range 12–62 years) with pollen-induced rhinitis (32 with concomitant mild asthma) were enrolled. They were randomized into three groups: A (n=30) with drug therapy alone, B (n=35) with drug therapy plus training on the use of nasal spray, and C (n=36) the same as B plus a lesson on rhinitis and asthma. All patients received mometasone furoate nasal spray for 8 weeks as regular therapy, plus rescue medications on demand. Symptoms and drug consumption were evaluated during the pollen season.

Results: The rate of noncompliance/dropout was highest in the untrained patients (P=0.001). No difference in nasal symptoms was seen among the three groups. On the other hand, group C had significantly fewer asthma symptoms (P=0.02) and less albuterol use (P=0.005) than group A. Moreover, the trained group globally used less rescue medication than the other groups (P=0.02).

Conclusions: Detailed training of patients seems to improve compliance with treatment, reduce concomitant asthma symptoms, and reduce the use of symptomatic drugs.