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Chapter 5: Allergic rhinitis

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Rhinitis is a symptomatic inflammatory disorder of the nose with different causes such as allergic, nonallergic, infectious, hormonal, drug induced, and occupational and from conditions such as sarcoidosis and necrotizing antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies positive (Wegener's) granulomatosis. Allergic rhinitis affects up to 40% of the population and results in nasal (ocular, soft palate, and inner ear) itching, congestion, sneezing, and clear rhinorrhea. Allergic rhinitis causes extranasal untoward effects including decreased quality of life, decreased sleep quality, obstructive sleep apnea, absenteeism from work and school, and impaired performance at work and school termed “presenteeism.” The nasal mucosa is extremely vascular and changes in blood supply can lead to obstruction. Parasympathetic stimulation promotes an increase in nasal cavity resistance and nasal gland secretion. Sympathetic stimulation leads to vasoconstriction and consequent decrease in nasal cavity resistance. The nasal mucosa also contains noradrenergic noncholinergic system, but the contribution to clinical symptoms of neuropeptides such as substance P remains unclear. Management of allergic rhinitis combines allergen avoidance measures with pharmacotherapy, allergen immunotherapy, and education. Medications used for the treatment of allergic rhinitis can be administered intranasally or orally and include oral and intranasal H1-receptor antagonists (antihistamines), intranasal and systemic corticosteroids, intranasal anticholinergic agents, and leukotriene receptor antagonists. For intermittent mild allergic rhinitis, an oral or intranasal antihistamine is recommended. In individuals with persistent moderate/severe allergic rhinitis, an intranasal corticosteroid is preferred. When used in combination, an intranasal H1-receptor antagonist and a nasal steroid provide greater symptomatic relief than monotherapy. Allergen immunotherapy is the only disease-modifying intervention available.

Keywords: Allergen avoidance; allergic rhinitis; anticholinergic; antihistamines; corticosteroids; immunotherapy; impaired performance; leukotriene receptor antagonists; pharmacotherapy; quality of life

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 2012

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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