Effects of Air Purifiers on Patients with Allergic Rhinitis: a Multicenter, Randomized, Double-Blind, and Placebo-Controlled Study

Yonsei Med J. 2020 Aug;61(8):689-697. doi: 10.3349/ymj.2020.61.8.689.


Purpose: Exposure to particulate matter (PM) is a well-known risk factor in the triggering and exacerbation of allergic airway disease. Indoor environments, where people spend most of their time, are of utmost importance. To assess the effects of air purifiers [equipped with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters] on allergic rhinitis (AR) in adult patients, we performed a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled study.

Materials and methods: Patients with house dust mite (HDM)-induced AR were randomly assigned to either active or mockup (placebo) air-purification groups. Two air purifiers (placed in living room and bedroom) were operated for 6 weeks in each home environment. The primary study endpoint was to achieve improvement in AR symptoms and medication scores. Secondary endpoints were to achieve improvement in the quality of life (QoL) and visual analog scale (VAS) scores, as well as in the indoor (bedroom and living room) concentrations of PM2.5 and PM10.

Results: After 6 weeks of air purifier use, medication scores improved significantly in the active (vs. placebo) group, although subjective measures (symptoms, VAS, and QoL scores) did not differ. Bedroom PM2.5 concentrations initially exceeded living room or outdoor levels, but declined (by up to 51.8%) following active purifier operation. Concentrations of PM2.5 in living room and PM10 in bedroom and living room were also significantly reduced through active purification.

Conclusion: The use of air purifiers with HEPA filters significantly reduced medication requirements for patients with HDM-induced AR and significantly lowered indoor PM2.5 concentrations, regardless of room placement. Active intervention to reduce household air pollutants may help improve allergic airway disease (clinicaltrials.gov NCT03313453).

Keywords: Air purifier; allergic rhinitis; house dust mite; indoor pollution; particulate matter.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Air Filters*
  • Air Pollutants / analysis
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / adverse effects
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Particulate Matter / analysis
  • Placebos
  • Quality of Life
  • Rhinitis, Allergic / therapy*
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors


  • Air Pollutants
  • Particulate Matter
  • Placebos

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT03313453

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