During American College of Allergy Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Meeting, Physicians are Reminded of the Need to Raise Awareness of the Burden of Allergic Rhinitis

BUSINESS WIRE — The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) has joined Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. to announce their support of “Allergy Intervention,” aimed at reminding physicians to re-engage their allergy patients in a discussion about the burden of allergic rhinitis (AR), intended to help them achieve symptom relief and allergy control. The announcement comes during the ACAAI Annual Scientific Meeting, Nov. 8-13th at the Anaheim Convention Center.

“The duration and severity of AR symptoms can have a substantial burden on a patient’s quality of life,” said allergist Dr. Eli Meltzer, Fellow of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, Member of the ACAAI Rhinitis/Sinusitis Committee and Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego. “We know that often patients don’t tell their physician when they have discontinued a medication, or they are not using it as prescribed. Patients generally switch their nasal allergy medications due to perceived incomplete relief or bothersome treatment effects. By proactively talking to our patients, or staging an ‘Allergy Intervention’ and encouraging a discussion about the burden of their nasal allergies, we can have a better understanding of how a patient’s treatment is working for them.”

It is estimated that as many as 60 million people in the United States are affected by AR, and its prevalence is increasing. Furthermore, over 13 million doctor visits a year are attributed to nasal allergies. These patients and their prescribers have a variety of prescription and non-prescription medications to choose from, yet many struggle to find a treatment that they can stick with, potentially leading to lack of adherence or medication switches. In fact, as many as one in five patients report that they switch their nasal allergy medication at least once a year.

“AR is often regarded as unimportant, rather than a serious medical condition that can impact a person’s sleep, day-to-day activities and overall quality of life,” said Dr. Stanley Fineman, President of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. “As a result, many people who suffer from its symptoms are often not properly diagnosed and treated. ACAAI and its allergist members are dedicated to improving the lives of patients with nasal allergies, so we are pleased to be part of an initiative that aims to strengthen the patient-physician dialogue.”

Based on currently available guidelines, intranasal steroid (INS) medications continue to be considered the most effective single agents available for AR treatment. However, a recent study showed that 25-30 percent of U.S. adult patients reported being dissatisfied with their current INS medication, with about one in three patients reporting that they suffer from a perceived lack of 24-hour relief with their medications and almost half reporting breakthrough AR symptoms. Additionally, many patients complained of bothersome effects associated with INS medications such as dripping down the throat, a feeling that may be experienced with aqueous-based nasal sprays.

“Physicians have a key role to play in recognizing dissatisfaction and non-adherent behavior and helping patients review their AR treatment options. Allergy patients have many treatment options available, including dry nasal aerosol sprays and a combination aqueous nasal spray,” says Dr. Meltzer. “‘Allergy Intervention’ provides us with a compelling message to reinitiate a discussion with our patients and to work together to arrive at a preferred treatment regimen for allergy control.”

Board-certified allergists are the best-trained health professionals to perform allergy testing and treat allergic diseases effectively. Allergists treat more than just symptoms and can identify the source of suffering and develop a treatment plan for patients that will significantly reduce symptoms.

“It is important that physicians who believe their patient is suffering from allergies refer them to a board-certified allergist for testing and treatment,” said Dr. Fineman. “Allergies can be complex, and patients who do not see an allergist may risk having test results misinterpreted which can lead to over-diagnosis and inappropriate management.”

Further information about “Allergy Intervention” can be found on www.allergyintervention.com. The website, supported by Sunovion, contains a number of valuable resources for physicians’ offices, including a physician-to-patient discussion guide and a downloadable waiting-room postcard. Further information about allergic rhinitis and the My Nasal Allergy journal can be found on AllergyandAsthmaRelief.org. Patients can use the journal to track their symptoms and share reports with their allergist.

For more information: www.acaai.org and www.sunovion.com

SOURCE: American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) and Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc.

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