Background: Although nonallergic rhinitis is a well recognized entity, its incidence and therapy have not been definitively studied. Recent epidemiologic studies and treatment trials have furthered our knowledge regarding the frequency of occurrence of this disorder and effective treatment modalities.
Objective: To review and put into perspective recent advances in our knowledge regarding the incidence and significance as well as therapy of chronic nonallergic rhinitis. In addition, based upon these data, to propose a classification of this disorder.
Data sources: The MEDLINE database and the results of a national survey of allergists (National Rhinitis Task Force) conducted in 15 allergy practices involving 975 patients.
Conclusions: Nonallergic rhinitis is a common disease that probably affects as many as 17 million Americans. Of equal importance is that, based on available data, approximately 22 million people suffer with a combination of nonallergic rhinitis and allergic diseases (mixed rhinitis). Both nonallergic and mixed rhinitis occur more frequently in adults than in children, may be more common in female patients than in male patients, and are more likely to be perennial than seasonal. Agents demonstrating efficacy (based on controlled trials or having approval by the FDA) for the therapy of nonallergic rhinitis are azelastine and topical nasal steroids.