Allergic rhinitis affects 20 to 30% of adults in both the United States and Europe and perhaps a somewhat higher percentage of children. In addition to nasal and ocular symptoms directly related to the allergic process, interference of these symptoms with sleep leads to daytime sleepiness and impaired quality of life. Patients miss work because of symptoms but an even greater problem is interference with work productivity, or presenteeism, which has been reported to be the biggest contributor to the total economic cost of allergic rhinitis. There has been increasing awareness that many patients with either seasonal or perennial symptoms but negative skin and in vitro tests for allergen sensitivity have local nasal allergy, diagnosable by the presence of allergen-specific IgE in their nasal secretions or a positive nasal allergen challenge or both. The pharmaceutical management of allergic rhinitis rests on symptomatic treatment with antihistamines that perhaps are more effectively administered intranasally than orally and intranasal corticosteroids. Allergen immunotherapy is very effective, even for local allergic rhinitis, and the shortcomings of subcutaneous immunotherapy of inconvenience and safety are reduced by the introduction of sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT). Use of the latter is currently somewhat limited by the lack of appropriate dosing information for SLIT liquids and the limited number of allergens for which SLIT tablets are available.
Keywords: Allergic Rhinitis; Immunotherapy; Local nasal allergy; SCIT; SLIT.