Pascal Demoly, Isabelle Bossé and Pascal Maigret

NPJ Prim Care Respir Med. 2020 Aug 20;30(1):37. doi: 10.1038/s41533-020-00195-8.

People with chronic diseases behave according to their perception of the disease, which may impact treatment results. The prevalence of allergic rhinitis is high, around 400 million people worldwide. However, it is poorly self-recognized by patients, as well as it is poorly controlled. The PETRA study’s objective was to evaluate the management of allergic rhinitis by patients and their general practitioners and to describe the relationship between disease perception, patient behavior, and treatment outcomes.

The PETRA study was a cross-sectional study that included 2001 participants between May and October 2017. The study’s main objective was to precisely identify and describe factors associated with a poor perception of the disease in people with allergic rhinitis. 201 French general practitioners selected 1929 patients for analysis (mean age: 39 years; intermittent/persistent symptoms: 46.2/52.3%). 71,7% of the participants had uncontrolled allergic rhinitis (ARCT score < 20), 53,6% had a good perception of their illness (BIPQ score < 5), and 14,1% of the patients had also been diagnosed with asthma.

A poor perception of allergic rhinitis was related to ear, nose, and throat complications, nasal pruritus, uncontrolled allergic rhinitis, and asthma. Also, there was a strong negative correlation between the BIPQ and ARCT scores: the poorer the patient’s perception, the less the disease was controlled.

In conclusion, the PETRA cohort included a high proportion of patients with moderate to severe allergic rhinitis symptoms and a low disease control level. It was shown that many patients were not satisfied with their treatment and did not perceive their disease very well. Although no causal relationship could be drawn from this study, results suggest that improving the perception of allergic rhinitis could be beneficial and lead to better control of symptoms.

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