(HealthDay News) — Allergic rhinitis (AR) constitutes a considerable burden, with patients at increased risk for asthma and various mental health comorbidities, according to a study published online Jan. 8 in Allergy.
Jochen Schmitt, M.D., M.P.H., from the Medical Faculty Carl Gustav Carus of the Technical University Dresden in Germany, and colleagues examined the prevalence, incidence, comorbidities, and treatment of AR. Data were included from a cohort of 1,811,094 German National Health Insurance beneficiaries in 2005, who were followed until 2011.
The researchers found that 6.2 percent of patients had prevalent AR in 2005/2006. AR was newly diagnosed in 2007 to 2011 in another 3.3 percent (incident cases). Compared to patients without AR, those with prevalent AR were three times more likely to develop asthma (age- and sex-adjusted risk ratio [RR], 3.04). Prevalent AR was also related to newly diagnosed recurrent depressive disorder (RR, 1.61), anxiety disorder (RR, 1.52), and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (RR, 1.21). About 20 and 36 percent of the children and adults, respectively, with AR were treated exclusively by general practitioners. Overall, 16.4 percent of AR patients were prescribed allergy immunotherapy (80 percent subcutaneous immunotherapy).
“This study highlights the significant burden of AR,” the authors write. “Despite the established benefits of allergy immunotherapy to treat AR and prevent asthma, this study suggests significant undertreatment.”
Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.