As part of a study of the effectiveness of beclomethasone dipropionate in perennial rhinitis five immunologically related parameters were measured. These included skin tests, total IgE, specific IgE, nasal and peripheral blood eosinophil counts. In addition, nasal biopsies were obtained in twenty out of sixty patients.
It was apparent that patients with perennial rhinitis formed a heterogeneous group who could be divided into three groups based on the extent of immunological abnormality detected. Group 1 consisted of twenty patients who displayed no abnormality in any of the five parameters studied. Group 2 consisted of twenty-six patients in whom specific IgE was not detected but who had varying degrees of abnormal findings in the other laboratory parameters. The remaining fourteen patients formed a third group in whom specific IgE was detected in addition to abnormalities in other parameters.
In general, patients with detectable specific IgE had a higher frequency of abnormal parameters, including abnormal histology of their nasal biopsy, than patients in whom no specific IgE was detected. The heterogeneous nature of perennial rhinitis is discussed. Despite the heterogeneous nature of the total patient group, the majority of patients (80%) treated with beclomethasone dipropionate improved compared to 20% improved in the placebo group. There was no difference in the drug effect between the three groups of patients.
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