Physicians’ prescribing behaviour and clinical practice patterns for allergic rhinitis management in Italy

Giovanni Passalacqua, Antonino Musarra, Gianenrico Senna, Jean Bousquet, Carmen Ferrara, Caterina Lonati, Giorgio Walter Canonica

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Despite availability of clinical guidelines, underdiagnosis, undertreatment, and poor adherence are still significant concerns in allergic rhinitis (AR) therapeutic management. We investigated clinical practice patterns and prescribing behavior of Italian healthcare professionals (HCPs) specialized in AR. Methods: One-hundred allergologists, 100 ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialists, and 150 general practitioners (GPs) were recruited. The survey assessed: socio-demographic, work experience, monthly caseload, prescription drivers. Next, HCPs were invited to retrospectively recover patients’ clinical data to investigate: AR clinical characteristics, therapy management, prescription patterns, patient adherence. Descriptive statistics, Chi square, One-Way analysis of variance, and Two-Way Analysis of Variance were performed. Results: Allergologists visited more AR patients (31% of monthly caseload) than ENTs (21%, p < 0.001), while GPs’ caseload was the lowest (6%). Clinical information of 2823 patients were retrieved of whom 1906 (67.5%) suffered from moderate/severe AR (discomfort score: 7.7 ± 1.3) and 917 (32.4%) from mild AR (5.7 ± 1.9). About one-third of mild patients had a discomfort score ≥ 7. Main prescription drivers were “effective on all symptoms” (54.3% patients) and “quick symptom relief” (47.8%), whereas minor drivers were “affordable price” (13.4%) and “refundable” (8.7%). The most prescribed drugs were antihistamines and intranasal corticosteroids (79% and 55% prescriptions), followed by fixed-dose-combination of intranasal azelastine/fluticasone (19%). Polytherapy was the most common treatment strategy (59.6%). HCPs’ believe that the majority of the patients was adherent to treatment (88% with score > 7). Conclusions: This survey describes the therapeutic approach adopted by Italian physicians to cope with AR and shows that HCPs underestimated AR severity and had a non-realistic perception of patients’ adherence. These findings suggest that further efforts are required to improve AR clinical management in Italy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20
JournalClinical and Molecular Allergy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2020


  • Allergic rhinitis
  • Allergologists
  • ENT specialists
  • General practitioners
  • Italy
  • Patient adherence
  • Pharmacological management
  • Undertreatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Molecular Biology


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