Allergic Rhinitis/Conjunctivitis (perennial / non-seasonal)

Scope

Diagnosis and management of perennial (non-seasonal) allergic rhinitis/conjunctivitis. For seasonal allergic rhinitis see separate guidelines

Assessment

Signs and Symptoms

  • Bilateral nasal itching
  • Blockage and rhinorrhoea
  • Sneezing
  • Bilateral conjunctivitis.

Ask about triggers (e.g. pets) if symptoms intermittent all year round (perennial).

Differential diagnosis

  • Seasonal rhinitis (symptoms only in pollen season spring/summer)
  • Infective rhinosinusitis
  • Non-allergic (eg hormonal, drug-induced, vasomotor) rhinitis

For diagnostic algorithm see

BSACI – Guidelines/Algorithm-RhinitisPCCL

Red Flags

  • Unilateral symptoms
  • Polyps
  • Persistent blood stained discharge or persistent purulent discharge.

Consider referral to ENT. (see referral details)

Investigations

Send blood for specific IgE to suspect aero-allergen (most commonly house dust mite and pets if exposed).

Management

  1. Allergen avoidance where possible (e.g. house dust mite reduction measures or pet avoidance).
  2. Mild symptoms should be treated with oral non-sedating antihistamines at doses up to twice BNF maximum dosing (cetirizine 10mg, loratadine 10mg, up to twice daily).
  3. Moderate-severe symptoms should be treated with intranasal corticosteroid (e.g. beclometasone, two sprays into each nostril twice daily; consider alternative (e.g. mometasone or fluticasone furoate) in addition to non-sedating antihistamines. Consistent daily use of intranasal use is vital, given maximal effect may not be apparent for at least two weeks.
    1. Training in appropriate nasal spray technique essential. Guidance is available at National asthma - intranasal-corticosteroid-spray-technique
  4. Systemic corticosteroids (in addition to intranasal corticosteroid) at doses of 15- 20mg for a maximum of 5 days as a one-off course can be used for severe symptoms uncontrolled on conventional therapy, to control symptoms during important periods (e.g. exams or other major events).
  5. Topical sodium cromoglicate eye drops are useful to manage allergic conjunctivitis.

Consider a concomitant diagnosis of asthma and manage according to guidelines

Avoid sedating antihistamines, depot corticosteroids, and chronic use of decongestants.

Treatment failure should prompt a review of the diagnosis, compliance with therapy (regular therapy is more effective than "as required" treatment), and intranasal corticosteroid technique.

For more information see

North and East Devon Formulary: Allergic rhinitis

BSACI - Rhinitis management guidelines

Onlinelibrary.wiley - guidelines for the management of allergic and non-allergic rhinitis

Referral

Referral Criteria

  • Perennial symptoms that are severe and resistant to treatment (when combination treatment at maximum doses has been attempted for at least 3 months)

Referral Instructions

Red Flags – refer to ENT

e-Referrals Selection

  • Specialty: ENT
  • Clinic type: Not otherwise specified
  • Service: DRSS-Eastern-Ear Nose and Throat-Devon CCG- 15N
Refer to Peninsula Immunology and Allergy Service

e-Referrals Selection

  • Specialty: Allergy
  • Clinic type: Allergy
  • Service: DRSS-Eastern-Allergy-Devon CCG- 15N

Referral forms

DRSS Referral forms

Supporting Information

GP Information

North and East Devon Formulary: Allergic rhinitis

BSACI - Rhinitis management guidelines

Onlinelibrary.wiley - guidelines for the management of allergic and non-allergic rhinitis

Pathway Group

This guideline has been signed off by the Eastern Locality on behalf of NEW Devon CCG.

Publication date: March 2016

 

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