Doctors: Allergy meds don't provide relief

February 1, 2002

Pharmaceutical Representative

More than 65% of physicians say they are only somewhat satisfied with currently available medications for treating allergies.

More than 65% of physicians say they are only somewhat satisfied with currently available medications for treating allergies, according to a survey of primary care physicians and allergists conducted by Rochester, NY-based Harris Interactive Inc. and sponsored by the Arlington Heights, IL-based American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. As a result of this lack of satisfaction, more than 50% of allergists and 39% of PCPs said they prescribe more than one medication to their patients.

"There are a variety of allergy medications that claim to provide different types of allergy symptom relief," said John Santilli, co-chair of the ACAAI's rhinitis and sinusitis committee. "Although the prescribed treatments at least provide some relief, there is considerable room for improvement."

Falling a bit short

In the survey, physicians said the most important attributes when evaluating an allergy medication are whether it is fast-acting, whether it provides 24-hour symptom relief and whether it is non-sedating. In fact, 69% of allergists and 66% of PCPs rated each attribute, respectively, as at least very important if not absolutely essential.

But when asked whether current medications live up to those attributes, allergists responded that prescription oral antihistamines require some improvement in their abilities to be fast-acting (95%), provide 24-hour symptom relief (95%) and be non-sedating (83%).

"Often my patients don't receive adequate symptom relief fast enough, which prevents them from living their daily lives fully," said Warren V. Filley, a clinical professor of medicine and clinical instructor of pediatrics at the Oklahoma University Medical Center. "As a result, they end up switching medications or using additional treatments to augment the total symptom relief current drugs are unable to provide individually."

The ACAAI conducted the survey in the hope that it would foster discussion in the medical community about available allergy medications and the need for improvements so doctors may better treat their patients. PR

Related Content:

News