Treatment of Allergic Rhinitis

Am Fam Physician. 2015 Dec 1;92(11):985-92.


Allergic rhinitis is a common and chronic immunoglobulin E-mediated respiratory illness that can affect quality of life and productivity, as well as exacerbate other conditions such as asthma. Treatment should be based on the patient's age and severity of symptoms. Patients should be educated about their condition and advised to avoid known allergens. Intranasal corticosteroids are the most effective treatment and should be first-line therapy for persistent symptoms affecting quality of life. More severe disease that does not respond to intranasal corticosteroids should be treated with second-line therapies, including antihistamines, decongestants, cromolyn, leukotriene receptor antagonists, and nonpharmacologic therapies such as nasal irrigation. Subcutaneous or sublingual immunotherapy should be considered if usual treatments do not adequately control symptoms and in patients with allergic asthma. Evidence does not support the use of mite-proof impermeable mattresses and pillow covers, breastfeeding, air filtration systems, or delayed exposure to solid foods in infancy or to pets in childhood.

Publication types

  • Patient Education Handout

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination*
  • Education, Medical, Continuing
  • Histamine Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy
  • Nasal Decongestants / therapeutic use*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Rhinitis, Allergic / diagnosis*
  • Rhinitis, Allergic / drug therapy
  • Rhinitis, Allergic / therapy*


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Histamine Antagonists
  • Nasal Decongestants