Background: Characterizing the interactions between the upper and lower airways is important for the management of asthma. This study aimed at assessing the specific impact of concomitant rhinitis on asthma-related quality of life (QOL) and asthma control.
Methods: A cross-sectional, observational survey was conducted among 1173 patients with asthma (aged 12-45) recruited by general practitioners and chest physicians. AR was defined by self-reported rhinitis symptoms and previously documented sensitization to inhalant allergens. The primary outcomes were (1) asthma control assessed by the Asthma Control Questionnaire (ACQ) and (2) asthma-specific QOL evaluated through the Mini Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire (mAQLQ).
Results: AR was present in 73.9% of the population with asthma and nonallergic rhinitis (NAR) in 13.6%. AR and NAR were associated with an increased risk of uncontrolled asthma (i.e. ACQ score > 1.5) with adjusted odds ratios (OR) of 2.00 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.35-2.97) and 1.77 (95%CI: 1.09-2.89), respectively. Multivariate linear regression analysis showed that AR and NAR had a modest, although significant, negative impact on the global mAQLQ score (beta coefficient: -0.293, standard error [SE]: 0.063 and beta coefficient: -0.221, SE: 0.080, P < 0.001, respectively), even after adjustment for the level of asthma control and demographic characteristics.
Conclusion: This survey provides direct evidence that AR and NAR are associated with an incremental adverse impact on the disease-specific QOL of patients with asthma and the level of asthma control. Further investigations are required to determine whether appropriate treatment of rhinitis would efficiently reduce asthma morbidity.