Many of those wheezing and bloodshot-eyed from allergies are, and have been for a while, dissatisfied with their allergy meds. In fact, about one in five switch medications once yearly.

A recent study found about 30 percent of adults in the U.S. who take intranasal steroid (INS) medications for allergic rhinitis, the most common allergic disease, to be unhappy with their medication. One in three reported experiencing no relief within 24 hours; nearly half reported breakthrough symptoms; and, many reported bothersome dripping down the throat, a side effect of certain nasal sprays.

Allergists took note. Yesterday, the Allergy Intervention campaign was announced at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology annual meeting.

Developed in partnership by ACAAI and Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, it’s geared to spark conversation between allergists and patients to better explore treatment options. In 2012, the first new set of treatment options in more than a decade arrived.

The program offers online tools at AllergyIntervention.com, including a waiting-room postcard for patients, a physician/patient discussion guide, and new treatment options from Sunovion.

“We know patients often don’t tell their physician when they discontinue a medication or are not using it as prescribed,” said Dr. Eli Meltzer, American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Fellow and clinical professor of pediatrics at University of California, San Diego, in a statement. “By proactively talking to our patients, or staging an  Allergy Intervention, we can better understand how patients’ treatments work for them.”

What Is AR

Nasal allergies cause some thirteen million doctor visits yearly. About fifteen percent of adults and children have allergic rhinitis, which can be seasonal (from pollen and mold) or perennial (from house dust mite and pet dander), said Stanley Fineman, MD, president of ACAAI and associate professor at Emory University School of Medicine, in an email.

“Rhinitis can be allergic or non-allergic, caused by irritants including smoke and perfume.” said Dr. Fineman, “Symptoms often mimic a cold’s, including runny and stuffy nose, itching, and sneezing.”

Treatment Options

If you have AR, identify the triggers that spark symptoms, because medications are best taken before symptoms arise.

With seasonal AR, pollen and mold are difficult to escape but try to:

  • Keeping windows closed to lessen exposure
  • Staying inside during peak pollen hours
  • Wearing a pollen mask

An allergist might prescribe treatments beyond over-the-counter medications. “A popular treatment,” said Dr. Fineman, “is immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots. While medications can only  relieve symptoms, immunotherapy can modify and prevent disease progression.”

If You take an allergy med, are you satisfied with it?