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Original Article


A Survey of the Burden of Allergic Rhinitis in Spain


J Mullol

Rhinology Unit and Smell Clinic, ENT Department, Hospital Clínic, Barcelona, Spain
Institute of Biomedical Investigation “August Pi i Sunyer” (IDIBAPS), Barcelona, Spain
Centre for Biomedical Investigation Network on Respiratory Diseases (CibeRes), Barcelona, Spain

J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol 2009; Vol. 19(1): 27-34



Objective: Patient and physician perceptions of the effectiveness of treatment, symptoms, and the impact of allergic rhinitis (AR) were assessed in an international prospective, cross-sectional survey. We present the results from Spain.

Methods: Out of 88 patients recruited by primary care physicians and specialists, 77 (87.5%) had AR confirmed by symptoms and skin prick testing, measurement of specific immunoglobulin E, or nasal allergen challenge. Physicians and patients recorded the presence, severity, and impact of symptoms at the time of consultation, as well as symptoms that were frequently, but not currently, present. The Mini Rhinoconjunctivitis Quality of Life Questionnaire (miniRQLQ) was used to assess health-related quality of life (HRQOL).

Results: Most patients had moderate or severe disease (67.0%), which was assessed in terms of severity and persistence of symptoms, and comorbid conditions such as asthma and anxiety. Nasal and ocular symptoms were reported by 83% of patients, either currently or frequently, and 36.4% of patients reported that these symptoms were moderate or severe. More than half of the patients (59.1%) were using 2 or more medicines to manage their AR, and 73.7% of patients taking a nonsedating antihistamine plus an intranasal corticosteroid had moderate or severe disease. Most patients (83.1%) reported some impact from the symptoms of AR on daily activities. The mean (SD) miniRQLQ score was 2.4 (1.4) in patients with mild disease, 2.6 (1.2) in patients with moderate disease, and 3.3 (2.3) in patients with severe disease.

Conclusions: AR is a significant health problem in Spain because of its high symptom burden and impact on HRQOL.

Key words: Allergic rhinitis. Burden. Health-related quality of life. Spain. Survey.