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Complementary and alternative medicine for allergic rhinitis

Man, Li-Xing

Current Opinion in Otolaryngology & Head and Neck Surgery: June 2009 - Volume 17 - Issue 3 - p 226–231
doi: 10.1097/MOO.0b013e3283295791
Allergy: Edited by Berrylin Ferguson

Purpose of review Otolaryngologists and other physicians who diagnose and treat allergic rhinitis encounter patients who use complementary medicine and alternative remedies. This article reviews the recent literature regarding complementary and alternative therapies for the treatment of allergic rhinitis.

Recent findings There are a myriad of modalities for treating allergic rhinitis. Few are studied with rigorous randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials for clinical efficacy. Often, the biological mechanisms and adverse effects are even less well understood. A few therapies, including spirulina, butterbur, and phototherapy hold some promise. Thus far, complementary and alternative therapies have not been integrated into the general treatment armamentarium of allergic rhinitis.

Summary Several studies report beneficial effects of certain alternative treatments for allergic rhinitis. Additional insight into the mechanisms of action, short-term and long-term effects, and adverse events is needed.

Department of Otolaryngology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Correspondence to Li-Xing Man, MD, MSc, Department of Otolaryngology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 203 Lothrop Street, Suite 500, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA Tel: +1 412 647 4789; fax: +1 412 648 6300; e-mail:

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.