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The reality of adherence to rhinitis treatment: Identifying and overcoming the barriers

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Medical advances have allowed many patients with chronic diseases to lead relatively normal lives, but disparity between patient perceptions of ”normal” and therapeutically defined disease control contributes to lowered adherence to treatment. This disconnect is greatest in diseases such as allergic rhinitis (AR) in which patients experience varying symptom severity over time—from asymptomatic periods to episodes of severe illness. This study was designed to evaluate the concept of adherence as applied to patients with AR. We reviewed the published literature. Adherence (or nonadherence) is an active process involving decision making on the part of the patient. Poor adherence with therapy can be the major barrier to achieving disease control, and the “on again, off again” approach to AR treatment embraced purposely by some patients may contribute to symptom lability, disease exacerbations, and higher costs. Evidence from surveys suggests that although specific educational interventions can temporarily improve adherence, in the long term most patients eventually revert to their former behavior. The available data suggest a need to reappraise how we address adherence with therapy in patients with chronic diseases with variable symptoms such as AR. The question is not just whether patient behavior can conform to recommended treatment plans, but whether it should. Experience suggests that successful strategies will be brief, easy to use, and capable of being tailored to individual patients in diverse clinical settings. Increased flexibility with medications is a corollary, particularly when patients are relatively asymptomatic (i.e., considered in control).

Keywords: Adherence; allergic rhinitis; allergy treatments; asthma; compliance; lifestyle change; managed care; nasal antihistamines; nasal steroids; patient education; patient preference; therapy

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Respiratory Institute, Dean Medical Center, Madison, Wisconsin, USA

Publication date: July 1, 2011

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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