Purpose of review: Otolaryngologists and other physicians who diagnose and treat allergic rhinitis encounter patients who use complementary medicine and alternative remedies. This article reviews the recent literature regarding complementary and alternative therapies for the treatment of allergic rhinitis.
Recent findings: There are a myriad of modalities for treating allergic rhinitis. Few are studied with rigorous randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials for clinical efficacy. Often, the biological mechanisms and adverse effects are even less well understood. A few therapies, including spirulina, butterbur, and phototherapy hold some promise. Thus far, complementary and alternative therapies have not been integrated into the general treatment armamentarium of allergic rhinitis.
Summary: Several studies report beneficial effects of certain alternative treatments for allergic rhinitis. Additional insight into the mechanisms of action, short-term and long-term effects, and adverse events is needed.