A survey of the burden of allergic rhinitis in the USA


  • MS declares no conflicts of interest

Michael Schatz
Department of Allergy
Kaiser Permanente Medical Center
7060 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.
San Diego
CA 92111


Background:  A prospective, cross-sectional, international survey was conducted among patients and physicians to identify symptom perception and the impact of allergic rhinitis (AR) on health-related quality of life (HRQoL). This paper presents the results from the USA.

Methods:  Data were recorded by 447 patients and matched with data collected on these patients by primary care physicians or specialists. Tests to confirm a diagnosis of AR had been performed on 345 (77.2%) patients. Because of the intermittent nature of the disease, both physicians and patients recorded the presence, severity and impact of symptoms at the time of consultation, in addition to symptoms frequently, but not currently, present. Health-related quality of life was assessed using the Mini Rhinoconjunctivitis Quality of Life Questionnaire.

Results:  According to the physicians’ assessment, a large proportion of patients had moderate or severe disease (62.6%; = 280), persistent disease (47.0%; = 213) and comorbidities such as asthma (28.4%; = 127). Comparison of the physicians’ and patients’ assessment of disease severity found that patients rated their disease as more severe than physicians across all three types of AR (< 0.001). At the time of the consultation, 44.0% (= 197) of patients were suffering from nasal and ocular symptoms, and 23.7% (= 106) of all patients reported that their current nasal and ocular symptoms were moderate or severe in nature. More than 50% of the patients surveyed (56.4%; = 252) were using two or more medications for their AR. Health-related quality of life correlated negatively with the number of symptom-free days in the previous 4 weeks. Allergic rhinitis had a significantly greater impact on patients with more persistent disease compared with those with intermittent disease (2.3 ± 1.3 vs 1.4 ± 1.1; < 0.001); nevertheless, approximately two-thirds of patients with intermittent disease reported some impairment of their professional or daily life as a result of AR.

Conclusions:  The results of this survey highlight the unmet needs of the many patients in the USA who present during routine care with moderate or severe and/or persistent disease and an associated high symptom burden and impaired HRQoL.