November 25, 2015
Allergy Sufferers Not Always Satisfied With Effectiveness of OTC Medications

San Diego—Americans with seasonal allergies might purchase a lot of OTC allergy medications, but that doesn’t mean they are completely satisfied with the results they get from them.

A new study presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting indicates that many seasonal allergy sufferers aren’t satisfied with the results they get, yet don't always seek the proper treatment or medication for symptoms.

The study led by Eli Meltzer, MD, of the Allergy & Asthma Medical Group & Research Center in San Diego, interviewed 501 children ages 12 to 17 and 500 adults, all of whom had seasonal allergic rhinitis. Of those surveyed, most reported moderate (45%) to severe (38%) symptoms in the spring and moderate (60 %) to severe (21%) symptoms in the fall.

Most of the adults, 62%, said they generally managed seasonal allergies with OTC oral medications. The survey found that seasonal allergic rhinitis (SAR) care was provided less than 25% of the time by allergy specialists.

“Even though the majority of adults and children we surveyed said they took OTC oral medications for allergies, only one-third were very or extremely satisfied with the treatment,” Meltzer said in an ACAAI press release. “In contrast, we found that about 50% of adults and children surveyed were very or extremely satisfied with prescription treatment, but the majority of those sufferers aren't necessarily obtaining prescriptions. Health plans tend to encourage patients to seek OTC medications first, which can delay allergist involvement.”

The survey found children were significantly more likely than adults to be getting care from an allergist—24% versus 14%. Children were also more likely to be receiving immunotherapy, 14%, than adults, 10%.

The nationwide 16-minute survey was conducted online March 2–9, 2015, using screening questions and a standardized questionnaire with 34 questions regarding seasonal allergy symptoms, treatment, preferences and satisfaction. Participants all had prior medical diagnoses for seasonal allergies and had sought treatment for their symptoms.

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