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Most Patients Select Suboptimal Medications for Allergic Rhinitis

Only 16.5 percent of customers with hay fever select optimal medications

sneezing into tissue

TUESDAY, April 3, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- The majority of pharmacy customers with rhinitis select suboptimal medications, according to a study published online March 29 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice.

Rachel Tan, from the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research at the University of Sydney, and colleagues surveyed 296 pharmacy customers who visited eight Australian community pharmacies and purchased medication for nasal symptoms. Appropriateness of medication selection was evaluated by an expert panel of clinical researcher pharmacists and specialist respiratory physicians based on the Allergic Rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma international guidelines.

The researchers found that just under two-thirds of customers (63.2 percent) had a doctor's diagnosis for the symptoms for which they were selecting treatment. The majority of participants (70 percent) self-selected their medications; a similar number of participants were identified as having rhinitis (71 percent). However, overall, only 16.5 percent of participants who had rhinitis selected optimal medications. Sixteen percent of participants with allergic rhinitis reported wheezing, but only 6.3 percent of these patients selected optimal medications.

"The majority of the participants with rhinitis selected suboptimal medications from community pharmacy, highlighting the significant burden of rhinitis in community pharmacy and the contribution of medication management," the authors write. "Pharmacists need to take a proactive and evidence-based role in the management of rhinitis."

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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