Quality of life in patients with allergic rhinitis
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LEARNING OBJECTIVES: Reading this article will familiarize the practitioner with ongoing efforts to measure the effects of allergic rhinitis symptoms and its treatments on the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of patients. The reader will learn about instruments used to collect HRQOL data, results of studies showing the burden of illness and the effects of treatments on HRQOL, and efforts to interpret the clinical relevance of changes in HRQOL status. DATA SOURCES: Information was gleaned from articles listed in MEDLINE regarding HRQOL in allergic rhinitis between 1966 and 2000 (English language only), and from the personal experiences of the authors. STUDY SELECTION: Questionnaire validation studies and representative controlled trials employing measures to assess the effects of allergic rhinitis symptoms and its treatments on HRQOL are described. RESULTS FROM THIS REVIEW: Allergic rhinitis symptoms can have detrimental effects on the physical, psychologic, and social aspects of patients' lives. Clinical trial data suggest a variety of pharmacologic therapies can significantly improve HRQOL in patients with allergic rhinitis. Validated questionnaires are now available that can easily be used in clinical practice to measure the effects of interventions on HRQOL for individual patients. CONCLUSIONS: Evaluating the effects of interventions on HRQOL may be particularly important in a non-life-threatening condition such as rhinitis. Health-related quality of life measures can be used to indicate the risk/benefit and the cost/benefit ratios of competing treatment options. Clinicians and policy makers are already using HRQOL data to evaluate results of medical interventions to guide patient management and reimbursement decisions.
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