The natural course of allergic rhinitis during 12 years of follow-up


Max Jessen, MD, ENT Department Central Hospital 35185 Växjö Sweden


As symptoms of allergic rhinitis are generally thought to disappear with increasing age, we decided to follow up our allergic rhinitis patients to ascertain whether their disease had regressed or progressed, and whether they had developed respiratory symptoms. At our department, between 1979 and 1982, allergic rhinitis was diagnosed in 108 patients. In 1993, 82 of the patients (40 women, 42 men; mean age 36 years), none of whom had received immunotherapy, answered a questionnaire concerning the status of their allergic rhinitis, and any development of the disease during the interim. Of the 82 patients, one was free of allergic symptoms and 39% had become better; symptoms were unchanged in 39% of cases, and worse in 21%. Six percent had suffered from asthma at presentation, 6% had developed asthma in the interim, and 34% reported other lower airways symptoms. Neither sex nor age at diagnosis was a determinant of the course of allergic rhinitis. Thus, in contrast to findings in other studies, the severity of allergic rhinitis seems to have increased among our patients.