Research Activities, September 2013
Evidence lacking on effectiveness of most hay fever treatments
Comparative Effectiveness Research
A new research review from AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program finds that for most treatments for seasonal allergic rhinitis (SAR), also known as hay fever, there is not enough evidence to draw conclusions about the comparative effectiveness or harms of treatment options for adults and adolescents over the age of 12, pregnant women, and children younger than 12 years of age. However, available evidence indicates that for adults and adolescents over the age of 12, montelukast was as effective as intranasal corticosteroid in the treatment of SAR nasal symptoms.
For the treatment of nasal symptoms and eye symptoms in this population, intranasal corticosteroid, nasal antihistamine, and combination intranasal corticosteroid plus nasal antihistamine were similarly effective. Moderate evidence indicates that for the treatment of nasal symptoms and eye symptoms and for improved quality of life, montelukast and oral selective antihistamine were similarly effective.
SAR affects approximately 10 percent of the United States population, or 30 million individuals. The lack of comparative evidence for all drugs within each class highlights the need for increased methodological rigor in future SAR research to inform the understanding of the comparative effectiveness and harms of SAR treatments in different groups. This research is also needed to inform understanding of the expression of SAR in various ethnic groups and the effect, if any, of early treatment on later symptom expression.
These findings can be found in the research review, Treatments for Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis at http://go.usa.gov/jzYQ.