New Survey Reinforces Link Between Asthma And Allergic Rhinitis, UK
The latest Ipsos MORI* Asthma UK survey, this year part funded by Merck Sharp & Dohme Limited, found that over two thirds (67%) of the 1,235 respondents diagnosed with asthma also suffered from symptoms of allergic rhinitis (hayfever) including runny nose, sneezing or itchy or red eyes. In addition, 72% of those said their asthma became worse when they experienced allergic rhinitis symptoms. These findings support the increasing recognition that asthma and allergic rhinitis are associated conditions.
Asthma and allergic rhinitis commonly co-exist and both cause inflammation of the airway.2 Previous research has reported that at least 50% of asthma patients also suffer from allergic rhinitis.3 Research also shows that the presence of allergic rhinitis increases the risk of asthma attacks and emergency hospitalisation.2 However, 65% of survey respondents with allergic rhinitis symptoms said that their healthcare professional (doctor, nurse or pharmacist) had never discussed its impact on asthma control.
For the majority of people surveyed (84%), symptoms were most severe during the spring or summer months, when pollen levels are high and hayfever is more prominent. However, 20% of respondents experience allergic rhinitis symptoms all year round, suggesting that people with asthma need to regularly monitor their symptoms.
Dr John Haughney, President of the International Primary Care Respiratory Group, and GP in Glasgow said: "This survey highlights the impact that co-morbid conditions can have on asthma and the important role that healthcare professionals can play in monitoring and treating upper airway symptoms, particularly in those patients where asthma is not adequately controlled. The results support the recommendations of the World Health Organisation 'ARIA' guideline, which says that clinicians should always look for evidence of allergic rhinitis in people with asthma, and that treating both upper and lower airways inflammation is likely to produce the better results for the patient."
*The National Asthma Panel is Asthma UK's annual survey of at least 1,000 people with asthma across the UK, conducted by Ipsos-MORI. This year, the survey was partially supported by MSD. A total of 1,235 people were interviewed by telephone between 4 February and 4 March 2008.
About Merck Sharp & Dohme Limited (MSD)
Merck Sharp & Dohme Limited (MSD) is the UK subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc. of Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, USA, a leading research-based pharmaceutical company that discovers, develops, manufactures and markets a wide range of innovative pharmaceutical products to improve human health. http://www.msd-uk.co.uk
About Asthma UK
Asthma UK is the independent charity dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of the 5.2 million people in the UK. Asthma UK works with people with asthma, healthcare professionals and researchers to develop and share expertise to help increase their understanding and reduce the effect of asthma on their lives.
1 Asthma UK, National Asthma Panel, 2008
2 Bousquet J, Gaugris S, Sazonov-Kocevar V et al. Increased risk of asthma attacks and emergency visits among asthma patients with allergic rhinitis: a subgroup analysis of the improving asthma control trial. Clin Exp Allergy 2005;35:723-727
3 Gaugris S, Sazonov-Kocevar V, Thomas M, Burden of Concomitant Allergic Rhinitis in Adults with Asthma. Journal of Asthma 2006;43:1-7