Allergic and nonallergic rhinitis: can we find the differences/similarities between the two pictures?

A Fusun Kalpaklioglu, Ayse Baccioglu Kavut
Journal of Asthma 2009, 46 (5): 481-5
The diagnostic challenge of rhinitis is to determine the etiology, specifically whether it is allergic or nonallergic. We therefore evaluated the general features of patients with allergic (AR) and nonallergic rhinitis (NAR), as well as health-related quality of life (HRQoL). The study group consisted of 323 patients (201 F/122 M) with a mean age of 31.79 +/- 12.64 years. Almost two thirds of the population had AR (63.5%). Neither the demographic characteristics nor the duration of rhinitis was different between the two groups. Total immunoglobulin E was significantly higher in AR. Although both groups displayed a mild-intermittent rhinitis profile, patients with AR had more seasonal and NAR had more perennial symptoms (p = 0.01). Frequency of nasal obstruction was comparable in both groups, whereas patients with AR significantly complained of rhinorrhea (86.8%), followed by nasal obstruction, sneezing, and nasal itching compared with the NAR group. Conjunctivitis and sinusitis were more prominent in the AR than NAR group (p = 0.01). However, the prevalences of asthma and bronchial hyperreactivity were not different, as well as the other allergic or systemic comorbidities. Furthermore, the impairment in HRQoL was similar in both groups, using a generic questionnaire- Short form-36 (SF-36). In conclusion, although the allergy test results still remain the only relevant difference, the diagnosis of NAR is important as it has many differences/similarities with AR and is seen almost half as often as AR in patients with chronic rhinitis.

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