Background: Allergic rhinitis and nasal polyposis are common nasal diseases, but the available treatment modalities have only limited success.
Objective: To assess the therapeutic effect of low-energy narrow-band red light phototherapy on nasal clinical symptoms of allergic rhinitis and nasal polyposis.
Methods: In a double-blind randomized prospective study, 50 patients with allergic rhinitis and 10 with nasal polyposis received intranasal illumination at 660 nm for 4.4 minutes three times a day for 14 days (total dose 6 joules per day). Twenty-nine rhinitic patients and one patient with polyposis received equivalent sham illumination as placebo. Evaluation was based on symptom scores and a clinical assessment that included pre-treatment and post-treatment videotaped rigid and flexible nasendoscopy.
Results: Following treatment, improvement of symptoms was reported by 72% of the allergic rhinitis patients and objective improvement was endoscopically demonstrated in 70% of them as compared with 24% and 3%, respectively, in the placebo group. These differences were significant. No improvement was obtained in any of the patients with polyposis.
Conclusions: Allergic rhinitis, if uncomplicated by polyps or chronic sinusitis, can be effectively treated by narrow-band red light illumination of the nasal mucosa at 660 nm, with marked alleviation of clinical symptoms. Whenever possible, candidates for phototherapy should be selected by endoscopic examination.