BACKGROUND: Mobile health may be used to generate innovative insights into optimizing treatment to improve allergic rhinitis control.
OBJECTIVES: A cross-sectional real world observational study was undertaken in 22 countries to complement a pilot study and bring novel information on medication use, disease control and work productivity in everyday life of patients with allergic rhinitis.
METHODS: A mobile phone app (Allergy Diary, freely available Google Play and Apple stores) was used to collect data of daily visual analogue scales (VAS) for (i) overall allergic symptoms, (ii) nasal, ocular and asthma symptoms, (iii) work, as well as (iv) medication use using a treatment scroll list including all allergy medications (prescribed and over-the-counter (OTC)) customized for 22 countries. The four most common intra-nasal medications containing intra-nasal corticosteroids and eight oral H1-antihistamines were studied.
RESULTS: 9,122 users filled in 112,054 days of VAS in 2016 and 2017. The assessment of days was informative. The control of days with rhinitis differed between no [best control], single [good control for intranasal corticosteroid-treated days] or multiple treatments [worst control]. Users with the worst control increased the range of treatments being used. The same trend was found for asthma, eye symptoms and work productivity. Differences between oral H1-antihistamines were found.
CONCLUSIONS: This study confirms the usefulness of the Allergy Diary in accessing and assessing patient behavior in allergic rhinitis. This observational study using a very simple assessment tool (VAS) on a mobile phone had the potential to answer questions previously thought infeasible.