ERASM, a pharmacoepidemiologic survey on management of intermittent allergic rhinitis in every day general medical practice in France


Pascal Demoly
Service des Maladies Respiratoires
Hôpital Arnaud de Villeneuve
CHU de Montpellier (Prof Bousquet)
34295 Montpellier Cedex 5


Background: The actual management of intermittent allergic rhinitis is still little known about, despite the disease being very prevalent. We used a cross-sectional survey to address this issue in everyday general medical practice in France.

Methods: A total of 1321 general practitioners enrolled 3026 patients consulting for a spring exacerbation of allergic rhinitis. Both doctors and patients filled out a specific questionnaire on allergic rhinitis.

Results: These patients consulted their doctor two-and-a-half weeks, on average, after the onset of their symptoms. They were bothered for an average of six days per week (5.9 ± 1.7 days) and for two months per year (8.7 ± 7.7 weeks) by symptoms which largely exceed the ENT (ear, nose and throat) field, with ocular symptoms (51.7%), pharyngeal irritation (39.0%), cough (30.8%), or respiratory discomfort (17.9%). Of these patients 79.2% had some impairment of their professional life and 91.8% of their daily life. Fifty percent of patients knew to what allergens they were allergic; only 11.1% had additional laboratory tests and 10.3% had subsequent specialist consultation (for most this was with an allergologist). Prescribed drugs were oral antihistamines (92.4%) and nasal glucocorticosteroids (45.2%). Prescriptions were written for a duration of six weeks on average. Seventy-nine percent of patients considered that the information they had received was adequate and easy to understand, but 58.2% of patients would have liked more advice. Furthermore, only 54.7% followed their doctor's prescription scrupulously, and 44% used frequent self-medication.

Conclusions: Intermittent allergic rhinitis is a real health problem because of its increasing prevalence, the induction of impaired quality of life and loss of performance, especially at work. General practitioners play a major role in this disorder; they make the diagnosis, start the treatment, give the relevant information, and monitor most of the patients.