Symptom control in patients with hay fever in UK general practice: how well are we doing and is there a need for allergen immunotherapy?

White, P., Smith, H., Baker, N., Frew, A. and Davies, W. (1998) Symptom control in patients with hay fever in UK general practice: how well are we doing and is there a need for allergen immunotherapy? Clinical and Experimental Allergy, 28 (3). pp. 266-270. ISSN 1365-2222

Full text not available from this repository.


Background Seasonal allergic rhinitis is often regarded as a trivial condition which patients should treat themselves. However, a significant proportion of sufferers are not fully controlled on standard hay fever medication, either because they do not use it properly or because their symptoms are resistant to standard therapy. The latter group may be suitable for allergen immunotherapy, which was once widely available in UK general practice but is now only available through specialist centres. Aims To describe the symptom control of patients with hay fever, to assess concordance with prescribed medication, and to estimate the number of patients who may benefit from referral for allergen immunotherapy. Setting General practices in Hampshire and Dorset, UK. Method Survey of adult hay fever sufferers prescribed a non-sedating antihistamine and nasal steroid spray by their general practitioner. A postal questionnaire was sent to all eligible patients aged 16–64 registered with 16 general practices. Self-assessment of symptom control and reported compliance with medication were used to identify those patients who were suboptimally controlled and might therefore benefit from immunotherapy. Results Eight hundred and forty-six out of 62 500 registered patients aged 16–64 (1.4%) were receiving both drugs, and responses were received from 627 (74.1%); 526 of these met the full entry criteria. One hundred and forty-two patients (27.0%) were using both types of drug regularly. Of the 142 patients using optimum pharmacotherapy, 54 (38.0%) reported good control of their hay fever symptoms. The remaining 62.0% experienced troublesome residual symptoms and described symptom control as partial or poor. Among those using suboptimal pharmacotherapy, 181/376 (48.1%) reported good control. Conclusion Many patients are using treatment inappropriately. Current guidelines need to be applied better but there is also a significant burden of residual symptoms, even among those receiving current optimal therapy. This indicates a need for patients with severe summer hay fever to receive specialist assessment.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Primary Care and Public Health
Depositing User: Jane Harle
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2008
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2012 16:53
Google Scholar:54 Citations
📧 Request an update