Caring for patients with allergic rhinitis


  • Mary Lou Hayden MS, FNP, APRN-C, AE-C,

    Nurse Practitioner and Certified Asthma Educator1 and Clinical Assistant Professor2), Corresponding author
    1. Virginia Adult/Pediatric Allergy and Asthma, Virginia
    2. University of Virginia, Virginia
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  • Catherine R. Womack MD

    (Assistant Professor of Medicine)
    1. The University of Tennessee, Tennessee
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Mary Lou Hayden, MS, FNP, APRN-C, AE-C, 7605 Forest Avenue Suite 103, Richmond, VA 23229.
Tel: 804-288-0055; Fax: 804-288-2659;


Purpose: Allergic rhinitis (AR) affects up to 40 million Americans, with an estimated cost of $2.7 billion per annum. This review discusses several therapeutic options that reduce the symptoms of AR, including allergen avoidance, antihistamines, intranasal corticosteroids (INS), leukotriene receptor antagonists, and immunotherapy.

Data sources: The articles included in this review were retrieved by a search of Medline literature on the subjects of AR, antihistamines, INS, leukotriene antagonists, and immunotherapy, as well as current published guidelines for the treatment of AR.

Conclusions: Allergen avoidance is recommended for all patients prior to pharmacologic therapy. Oral and nasal H1-antihistamines are recommended to alleviate the mild and intermittent symptoms of AR, and INS are recommended as the first-line treatment choice for mild persistent and more moderate-to-severe persistent AR.

Implications for practice: There are a number of different types of therapy for the management of AR; with so many options available, successful tailoring of treatment to suit individual requirements is realistically achievable.