Patients and Methods: This analysis used data from the iHARP (Initiative Helping Asthma in Real-life Patients) asthma review service – a cross-sectional observational study (2011 and 2014) in seven countries that captured data on patient demographics, rhinitis symptoms, asthma symptoms, indicators of exacerbations, medication use, oropharyngeal effects and side-effects, using practitioner- and patient-reported questionnaires. Comparisons between patients with and without rhinitis were tested. Univariate logistic regression was used to identify variables associated with risk of exacerbations for entry into multivariable logistic regression.
Results: This report contains data from 4274 patients: 67.4% (2881/4274) reported rhinitis symptoms and of which 65.7% (1894/2881) had not received a doctor diagnosis; 36.5% (1052/2881) had moderate-severe rhinitis, 12.4% (358/2881) had used intranasal corticosteroids and 19.8% (569/2881) oral antihistamines. Patients with coexisting moderate-severe rhinitis were more likely to have GINA-defined uncontrolled asthma than those with mild rhinitis or no rhinitis. Moderate-severe rhinitis was associated with 40% increased risk of asthma exacerbations (OR=1.40, 95% CI: 1.02– 1.90).
Conclusion: This study identified a major gap in the diagnosis and management of rhinitis in a cohort of people with asthma treated at GINA Step 3 and above who are managed in general practice. It highlights the need for practitioners to identify, evaluate and optimally treat rhinitis in adults with asthma, which is a significant factor associated with exacerbation risk.