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Self-treating hay fever

4th March 2013


Hay fever, the often seasonal allergy that affects between 10 and 20 percent of the American population, is best controlled through a course of patient-adjusted dosing, according to new research published in the September 2008 edition of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery.

During the study by Thai researchers, hay fever, known clinically as allergic rhinitis, was observed in 69 patients, who were then treated over the course of 28 days with the intranasal corticosteroid triamcinolone acetonide. Patients with mild symptoms were instructed to use the treatment only after symptoms occurred once a day; patients with more severe symptoms were told to continue morning daily dosage until they were symptom-free for 24 hours. However, as opposed to the normally prescribed once-daily dose, patients were instructed to adjust their use pattern based on the frequency and severity of symptoms and it was emphasised to them not to tolerate any mild or transient symptoms. As a result, during the course of the study, all patients saw improvement in their nasal symptom scores (which include blocked sinuses, rhinorrhea/runny nose, sneezing, and nasal itching).

The authors believe this in this self-adjusted dose regimen, which allows patients to increase or decrease the regularity of their dose based on their level of symptoms, the intranasal corticosteroids remain effective, while the treatment prevents priming responses and increased sensitivity that might otherwise occur over time. As a result, the authors determined that almost maximal symptomatic control could be achieved with three-fourths of the recommended regular once-daily dose by varying the daily dosage according to the severity of disease. They believe this approach would be a reasonable way to optimise both treatment efficacy and patient compliance.

Allergic rhinitis occurs when the body's immune system over-responds to specific, non-infectious particles such as plant pollens, molds, dust mites, and animal hair, among others. This causes skin redness and swollen membranes in the nasal passages, combined with sneezing and congestion. It is estimated that hay fever accounts for approximately 2 percent of all visits to a doctor's office.





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