Background: Asthma and rhinitis are considered components of a single IgE-mediated inflammatory disorder. However, despite being shown to often co-exist, they are typically treated as independent conditions. Omalizumab, an anti-IgE antibody, has proven effective in the treatment of both asthma and rhinitis.
Aims: To examine whether a response to omalizumab in terms of asthma control predicts a higher likelihood of rhinitis response in patients with concomitant allergic asthma and rhinitis.
Methods: This post hoc analysis was conducted on efficacy results from the SOLAR trial in which patients with moderate-to-severe asthma and rhinitis were randomized to receive omalizumab or placebo for 28 weeks. Patients were classified as asthma responders based on the physician's overall assessment (complete control or marked improvement in a five-level evaluation). Rhinitis responders were identified using the Rhinitis Quality of Life Questionnaire (RQLQ) questionnaire (> or = 1.0 point improvement in overall score).
Results: Data were available for 207 omalizumab-treated patients and 192 placebo patients. According to the physicians overall assessment, 123 (59.4%) of omalizumab-treated patients were asthma responders, with the likelihood of a rhinitis response significantly (P < 0.001) greater in these patients than in the placebo group. The odds ratio for rhinitis response in omalizumab-treated asthma responders vs nonresponders was 3.56 (95% CI: 1.94-6.54).
Conclusions: A response in terms of asthma following omalizumab therapy is associated with a significantly increased probability of improvement in rhinitis.