Feature Article

A clinical approach to allergic rhinitis

Eton Lin, Katherine Nicholls
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History is a critical aspect of the assessment process in allergic rhinitis, and provides a framework for interpreting investigations including serum specific IgE and skin test results. Management comprises allergen avoidance, symptomatic drug therapy and allergen-specific immunotherapy, the latter being an effective long-term treatment.


A correction for this article was published in the January 2015 issue of Medicine Today. Table 2 in the full text PDF of this article (see link above) has been corrected.

Key Points

  • Allergic rhinitis is the most common allergic disease in Australia, has a significant morbidity and economic burden and is predicted to increase in prevalence by 70% in the next 35 years.
  • It is often associated with other allergic diseases, including asthma.
  • The results of serology or skin prick testing for allergen-specific IgE must be interpreted in the context of the history of allergic triggers.
  • Symptomatic drug therapy is effective for many patients, especially those with mild to moderate symptoms, but does not alter the long-term course of the condition.
  • Allergen-specific immunotherapy is an increasingly available, well-tolerated and extremely effective intervention for allergic rhinitis.

    Picture credit: © Jim Dowdalls/Science Source/