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Special considerations in treatment of allergic rhinitis in the elderly: Role of intranasal corticosteroids

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Once viewed as a “young person's disease,” allergic rhinitis (AR) is becoming increasingly common in the elderly. Effective treatment is necessary not only to minimize the impact of AR in the older population, but to prevent the onset or exacerbation of asthma. This review was conducted to examine the clinical evidence regarding the efficacy and safety of therapies for AR in the elderly. MEDLINE searches of the literature were performed to identify key consensus statements, expert opinions, and clinical trials related to the management of AR in older individuals. The selection of treatment for elderly patients with AR must consider age-dependent physiologic factors (such as metabolic alterations, changes in the nasal mucosa, difficulty swallowing, and visual or motor problems) that may affect responses to therapy. Both first- and second-generation antihistamines are associated with a higher incidence of adverse events and drug:drug interactions in older than younger individuals, and oral decongestants pose risks in the presence of a variety of comorbidities known to be more common in the elderly. Leukotriene receptor antagonists are as effective as antihistamines, but are inferior to intranasal corticosteroids and have the potential for interactions with a wide range of drugs. Intranasal corticosteroids have the most favorable safety and efficacy profiles in older individuals with AR. The diagnosis and management of AR in the elderly require approaches tailored to specific age-related factors. Based on the available evidence, intranasal corticosteroids offer the best option for the treatment of older patients with AR.
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Keywords: Aged; allergens; diagnosis; drug therapy; elderly; histamine H1-antagonist; nasal obstruction; perennial allergic rhinitis; seasonal allergic rhinitis

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-05-01

More about this publication?
  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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