Introduction: The Allergic Rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma (ARIA) guidelines provide a stepwise treatment to rhinitis, which classifies the disease according to its duration and severity.
Objectives: The aim of the study was to verify whether these variables influence drug prescriptions for rhinitis and asthma.
Methods: A multi-centre cross-sectional pharmaco-epidemiological survey was carried out on 1,610 allergic rhinitis patients and the relationship between the clinical features of rhinitis and drug therapy for rhinitis and asthma was evaluated.
Results: A total of 1,321 adult patients were enrolled. Mild intermittent rhinitis was diagnosed in 7.7%of the patients, moderate/severe intermittent in 17.1%, mild persistent in 11.6%, and moderate/severe persistent in 63.6%. A high level of rhinitis-asthma comorbidity (616/1,321 = 46.6%) was found. The majority of patients [1,060 (80.24%)] were treated. Significant associations between the severity of rhinitis and the presence of therapy (P = 0.008), the use of oral antihistamines (P < 0.001), topical nasal steroids (P = 0.020) and systemic steroids (P = 0.005) were found. A weak association was found between the features of rhinitis and the therapy for asthma, and vice versa the comorbidity with asthma increases the prescription of inhalant (P < 0.001) and oral steroids (P = 0.015) to treat rhinitis.
Conclusion: The severity of rhinitis influences patient request for rhinitis therapy and the type of medication more than the duration. These features of rhinitis seem to poorly influence asthma therapy. As the ARIA classification is able to reveal a relevant impairment notwithstanding therapy, its role in treated patients merits further study.