Feature Article

Allergic rhinitis: an unrecognised disability

Richard Nolan, Dominic FJ Mallon



Allergic rhinitis is very common and its impact on patients’ lives is often not fully appreciated. In patients whose sleep, work or leisure activities are affected, effective treatment is readily available and can substantially improve symptoms.

Key Points

  • Allergic rhinitis can substantially reduce affected patients’ quality of life through influence on sleep, work and leisure activities.
  • Investigation relies heavily on history and targeted testing for confirmation of specific allergic triggers.
  • Allergen avoidance measures are worthwhile but have only a moderate effect.
  • Intranasal corticosteroids are effective at controlling symptoms in almost all patients with allergic rhinitis if used correctly.
  • Immunotherapy (desensitisation) is the most effective treatment in selected patients. The GP’s role in ongoing immunotherapy is substantial but the therapy should be initiated by an allergist.