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Visual analogue scale in patients treated for allergic rhinitis: an observational prospective study in primary care

Asthma and Rhinitis




Allergic rhinitis (AR) severity is evaluated using scores such as Rhinoconjunctivitis Quality-of-Life Questionnaire (RQLQ) and total symptom score (TSS). However, a simple assessment is needed to enable physicians to evaluate the severity of the AR and the efficacy of the treatment.


The main objective was to validate visual analogue scale (VAS) as a simple quantitative tool to assess the burden of AR in primary care.


The study was multi-centre prospective observational conducted in patients consulting general practitioners for symptomatic rhinitis. VAS, RQLQ and TSS6 were assessed at the consultation day and 14 days later, and changes were analysed using paired test. Correlations between VAS, RQLQ and TSS6 were assessed. Cut-off levels for VAS, which discriminate significant from insignificant changes, were established using Receiver Operating Characteristic curves.


A total of 990 patients were included in the study. According to allergic rhinitis and its impact on asthma classification, mild intermittent rhinitis was diagnosed in 20% patients, mild persistent in 17%, moderate/severe intermittent in 15% and moderate/severe persistent in 48%, at the consultation day. At day-14, rhinitis symptoms and QoL improved significantly in almost all patients. Impairment incurred by AR and assessed with VAS improved also. The established cut-off variation of 23 mm for VAS was associated with a cut-off variation of 0.5 for RQLQ. Sensitivity analysis with RQLQ and TSS6 scales confirmed the aptitude of the cut-off value (23 mm) to discriminate changes in symptoms and QoL.

Conclusion and Clinical Relevance

The VAS can detect with high sensitivity the variations of symptoms and QoL in patients with AR.