Characteristics of intermittent and persistent allergic rhinitis: DREAMS study group

Clin Exp Allergy. 2005 Jun;35(6):728-32. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2222.2005.02274.x.


Background: In the Allergic Rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma (ARIA) classification, intermittent and persistent rhinitis were proposed to replace seasonal and perennial allergic rhinitis (AR).

Aim: To better understand the ARIA classification of rhinitis.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out in 591 patients consulting ENT or allergy specialists for AR and 502 control subjects. The diagnosis of AR was based on a score for allergic rhinitis (SFAR) > or =7. Patients were classified according to the four ARIA classes (mild intermittent, mild persistent, moderate/severe intermittent and moderate/severe persistent). Allergen sensitization (skin prick tests (SPTs) or specific IgE) and co-morbidities were examined according to the ARIA classes.

Results: Ten percent of patients had mild intermittent rhinitis, 14% mild persistent rhinitis, 17% moderate/severe intermittent rhinitis and 59% moderate/severe persistent rhinitis. Most patients with intermittent rhinitis had a pollen sensitivity, but 5% had a single house dust mite (HDM) sensitization. Over 50% of patients with persistent rhinitis were allergic to pollens or HDM. Asthma was present in 24% of rhinitis patients and in only 2% of the control population (P<0.0001). Patients with moderate/severe persistent rhinitis had the highest asthma prevalence (33%).

Discussion: Intermittent and persistent rhinitis are not synonymous of seasonal and perennial rhinitis. Most patients consulting specialists have severe rhinitis. Asthma prevalence increases with duration and severity of rhinitis supporting the ARIA major recommendation that patients with persistent rhinitis should be evaluated for asthma.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Allergens / immunology
  • Animals
  • Asthma / complications*
  • Asthma / immunology
  • Conjunctivitis, Allergic / complications
  • Conjunctivitis, Allergic / immunology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mites / immunology
  • Pollen / immunology
  • Rhinitis / classification*
  • Rhinitis / complications
  • Rhinitis / immunology
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Perennial / classification
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Perennial / complications
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Perennial / immunology
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal / classification
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal / complications
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal / immunology
  • Skin Tests


  • Allergens
  • Immunoglobulin E