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Keywords:

  • allergic rhinitis;
  • children;
  • management;
  • intranasal corticosteroids;
  • antihistamines;
  • immunotherapy;
  • allergen avoidance

Georgalas C, Terreehorst I, Fokkens W. Current management of allergic rhinitis in children. Pediatr Allergy Immunol 2010: 21: e119–e126. © 2009 John Wiley & Sons A/S

Over the last 20 years, there has been significant progress in our understanding of the pathophysiology of allergic rhinitis, including the discovery of new inflammatory mediators, the link between asthma and allergic rhinitis (‘one airway–one disease’ concept) and the introduction of novel therapeutic modalities. These new insights have been documented in the Allergic Rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma guidelines and have led to the creation of evidence-based management algorithms. We now understand the importance of a common strategy for treating allergic inflammation of the upper and lower airway as a way of improving outcome, reducing hospital admissions, providing better quality of life and perhaps, altering the natural course of the ‘allergic march’. A therapeutic ladder is suggested: Whereas for mild intermittent allergic rhinitis, allergen avoidance should be the first line of treatment with subsequent addition of a second generation topical or oral antihistamine, nasal saline or cromoglycate, in cases of moderate to severe allergic rhinitis, a nasal steroid is the treatment of choice. If a patient with moderate/severe persistent allergic rhinitis fails to improve after 4 wk of adequate treatment, patient compliance or the diagnosis must be re-assessed. In such cases, when the diagnosis is in doubt, a careful clinical examination including nasal endoscopy is mandatory to assess for other potential causes of nasal obstruction. In children who suffer from concomitant allergic rhinitis and asthma, a management algorithm that addresses concurrently asthma and allergic rhinitis is vital, both from a theoretical and from a practical point of view: Parents overwhelmingly prefer a single strategy for the treatment of their child’s upper and lower airway symptoms; however, the overall quality of life in children with severe asthma can be significantly improved if rhinitis is adequately addressed.