Pharmacotherapy of allergic rhinitis: a pharmaco-economic approach


Prof. Dr Steven Simoens
Research Centre for Pharmaceutical Care and Pharmaco-economics
Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Onderwijs en Navorsing 2
Herestraat 49
PO Box 521
3000 Leuven


This article reports on a systematic literature review of the costs of allergic rhinitis (AR), the economic value of pharmacotherapy of AR, and the factors affecting costs and economic value of pharmacotherapy. Included studies had carried out a cost-of-illness analysis, cost analysis, cost-effectiveness, cost-utility or cost-benefit analysis. Allergic rhinitis imposes a substantial economic burden on society, with indirect costs of productivity loss being larger than the direct healthcare costs. Cost estimates were biased because of difficulties of diagnosis; exclusion of patients who do not seek healthcare; exclusion of over-the-counter medication; difficulties in estimating productivity loss. There is limited evidence on costs of seasonal/perennial and intermittent/persistent AR. Little is known of the economic value of pharmacotherapy of AR, although levocetirizine appears to be cost-effective as compared with placebo. Economic evaluations suffered limitations from small sample sizes, short trial duration, lack of standardized effectiveness measure, restricted scope of costs. Finally, the economic value of pharmacotherapy of AR is influenced by the perspective of the economic evaluation, relative effectiveness and costs of available drugs, patient compliance with treatment.