Allergic rhinitis is a worldwide health problem, which can greatly interfere with the quality of life of affected patients. Allergic conjunctivitis and asthma often accompany rhinitis. Unlike asthma, allergic rhinitis does not affect the physical activities of sufferers. However, rhinitis does impair the mental and social activities as much as any associated asthma. In view of the considerable adverse impact of allergic rhinitis on the life of affected individuals, treatment must be optimal. The efficacy of the range of available medications has been evaluated on the basis of scientific evidence, especially that derived from randomized controlled trials. From the collated information, guidelines have been formulated – the Allergic Rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma (ARIA) guidelines. Drugs with confirmed efficacy (antihistamines, topical cromones and steroids) have been used to treat patients with intermittent or persistent allergic rhinitis. Patients should be treated with a stepwise approach, using increasingly powerful therapy for symptoms of increasing severity. It is necessary to emphasize that patients must be treated as an entity, so that not only the allergic rhinitis but also any accompanying conjunctivitis or asthma are treated.