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AAFA
New Survey Reveals Many Patients Want More from Their Allergy Medication

Six out of 10 patients interested in finding a new prescription medication

Contact:           Angel Waldron at 202-466-7643, x248

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 8, 2005 – When it comes to allergy treatment, patients know what they want, according to a new national survey commissioned by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA).  The survey reveals most allergy patients[1] believe it is important for prescription allergy medications to provide long-lasting relief (88%) and work quickly to relieve symptoms (85%).

Although allergy patients know what attributes are important to them in their medication, nearly one-third (31%) are not fully satisfied with their current prescription allergy medication, and 60 percent agree that they are very interested in finding a new prescription allergy medication.

Additional key findings from the survey of 1,214 allergy patients, conducted by Harris Interactive, include:

  • More than half of all patients (55%) not fully satisfied with their current prescription allergy medication believe their allergy medication does not relieve their symptoms for a long enough period of time
  • Forty-four percent of patients not fully satisfied with their current prescription allergy medication believe their allergy medication does not provide symptom relief quickly enough; 83 percent of all allergy patients consider quick allergy symptom relief to be within 30 minutes
  • More than two out of five (42%) allergy patients agree that they are confused by all the different prescription allergy medications available today

“Patients often assume a passive role when speaking with their physician about available allergy treatment options,” said Alpen Patel, MD, assistant professor, otolaryngology, George Washington University Medical Center, Washington, D.C., member of AAFA’s Medical-Scientific Council.  “Therefore, it is so important for physicians to fully educate patients about their allergies and the range of treatment options available to ensure they can identify a treatment that best suits the patient’s physical and emotional needs.”

Six out of 10 patients (59%) agree that they wish they knew more about the different types of prescription allergy medications available.  In fact, many of those who are not fully satisfied with the seasonal allergy care provided by their doctor or other health care provider (21% of allergy patients) indicate their clinician does not spend enough time talking to them about their allergies (48%) and only prescribes certain medications (40%).

“Nearly 30 percent of patients admit they don’t even know what class of allergy medication they are taking,” said Dr. Patel.  “This suggests a need for physicians to have open dialogues with their patients about the specific allergy medications they are taking and how they may affect the body, including potential side effects and interactions with other medications.”

About half of allergy patients (51%) believe that it is important for allergy medications to be steroid-free.  Oral medications are the most commonly prescribed allergy medication (67%); however, more than four out of five allergy patients (81%) would try a nasal spray to treat their allergy symptoms.

Survey Methodology

Harris Interactive conducted the online survey on behalf of AAFA from October 10-17, 2005, using its Chronic Illness Panel database.  Total survey sampling includes a national sample of 1,214 U.S. adults aged 18 and older who have been diagnosed with seasonal allergies and are currently using prescription allergy medication to treat their allergies.

Data are weighted to be representative of adults 18 and older who have been diagnosed with seasonal allergies and are currently using prescription allergy medication.  Weighting was based on age within gender, education, race/ethnicity, region, income and propensity to be online.  In theory, with probability samples of this size, one can say with 95 percent certainty that the overall results have a sampling error of   +/- 4.3 percentage points.

Sampling error for the sub-samples of patients who see a health care professional for seasonal allergies (n=1,194), patients who are not satisfied with their current prescription allergy medication (n=348) and patients who are not satisfied with the allergy care provided by their doctor or health care provider (n=242) is higher and varies.  This online sample is not a probability sample.

About Allergic Rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis, commonly referred to as hay fever or allergies, affects as many as 50 million Americans each year.  Allergies reflect an overreaction of the immune system to substances that usually cause no reaction in most individuals, such as pollens, mold, dust or animal dander.  These substances can trigger sneezing, itchy, watery eyes, nasal congestion, runny nose, itchy nose, throat and palate and sinus headaches.

Allergies are not only bothersome, but many have been linked to a variety of common and serious chronic respiratory illnesses (such as sinusitis and asthma).  Additionally, allergic reactions can be severe and even fatal.  However, with proper management and patient education, allergic diseases can be controlled, and people with allergies can lead normal and productive lives.

Appropriate allergy treatment is based on the results of allergy tests, medical history and the severity of your symptoms.  Treatment can include avoidance of allergens, medication options and/or immunotherapy (allergy shots).

About AAFA

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) is the leading non-profit consumer and patient organization fighting asthma and allergic disease.  AAFA provides free information to the public, offers educational programs to consumers and health professionals, leads advocacy efforts to improve patient care and supports research to find cures.  To learn more about AAFA, visit www.aafa.org.

This survey is made possible through an unrestricted educational grant to AAFA from Alcon Laboratories, Inc.

 

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[1] Allergy patients defined as U.S. adults aged 18 and over who have been diagnosed with seasonal allergies and are currently using prescription allergy medication to treat their allergies.

 
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