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The voice of the patients: allergic rhinitis is not a trivial disease

Valovirta, Erkka; Myrseth, Svein-Erik; Palkonen, Susanna

Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology: February 2008 - Volume 8 - Issue 1 - p 1–9
doi: 10.1097/ACI.0b013e3282f3f42f
Upper airway disease: Edited by Ruby Pawankar and David P. Skoner

Purpose of review Patient and physician perspectives on the impact of allergic rhinitis have previously been studied in the general population. We evaluated the burden of allergic rhinitis among patients from the members of European allergy patient organizations. The Patient Voice Allergy Survey was a quantitative, self-completion survey of 3562 patients with allergic rhinitis (16 years and older). Background information on allergic rhinitis, severity of allergic rhinitis symptoms and their impact on lives, nonmedical measures for relieving of symptoms, types of medications, and concomitant conditions were evaluated.

Recent findings Almost 50% of the responders reported symptoms lasting for more than a season. Preventive household adjustments are expensive with little perceived benefit. Sleep and emotional life are affected by allergic rhinitis. Most patients are satisfied with the current allergic rhinitis medications; at least one-fifth report dissatisfaction. Patients perceive that allergic rhinitis worsens other concomitant allergic diseases.

Summary Future management guidelines for allergic rhinitis must take into account the results of this survey. Such guidelines must promote relief from the emotional burden of allergic rhinitis and from the negative impact on daily activities, encourage patient education, and maintain and build on the strong partnership between patients and healthcare professionals.

aTurku Allergy Center, Turku, Finland

bEuropean Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients'Associations, EFA Central Office, Brussels, Belgium

Correspondence to Erkka Valovirta, MD, Turku Allergy Center, Kotkankatu 2, FIN-20610 Turku, Finland Tel: +358 2 2746400, +358 40 5 102 101; fax: +358 2 2530232; e-mail:

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