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Allergy Asthma Proc. 2007 Jan-Feb;28(1):3-9.

The burden of allergic rhinitis.

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University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, Colorado, USA.


Although formerly regarded as a nuisance disease, allergic rhinitis (AR) has a considerable effect on quality of life and can have significant consequences if left untreated. The total burden of this disease lies not only in impaired physical and social functioning but also in a financial burden made greater when considering evidence that AR is a possible causal factor in comorbid diseases such as asthma or sinusitis. Compared with matched controls, patients with AR have an approximate twofold increase in medication costs and 1.8-fold the number of visits to health practitioners. Hidden direct costs include the treatment of comorbid asthma, chronic sinusitis, otitis media, upper respiratory infection, and nasal polyposis. Nasal congestion, the most prominent symptom in AR, is associated with sleep-disordered breathing, a condition that can have a profound effect on mental health, including increased psychiatric disorders, depression, anxiety, and alcohol abuse. Furthermore, sleep-disordered breathing in childhood and adolescence is associated with increased disorders of learning performance, behavior, and attention. In the United States, AR results in 3.5 million lost workdays and 2 million lost schooldays annually. Patients struggle to alleviate their misery, frequently self-adjusting their treatment regimen of over-the-counter and prescription medications because of lack of efficacy, deterioration of efficacy, lack of 24-hour relief, and bothersome side effects. Ironically, health care providers overestimate patient satisfaction with therapy. Therefore, improvement in patient-practitioner communication may enhance patient adherence with prescribed regimens.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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