Rhinitis in children and adolescents with asthma: Ubiquitous, difficult to control, and associated with asthma outcomes

Alkis Togias, Peter J. Gergen, Jack W. Hu, Denise C. Babineau, Robert A. Wood, Robyn T. Cohen, Melanie M. Makhija, Gurjit K. Khurana Hershey, Carolyn M. Kercsmar, Rebecca S. Gruchalla, Andrew H. Liu, Emily Wang, Haejin Kim, Carin I. Lamm, Leonard B. Bacharier, Dinesh Pillai, Steve M. Sigelman, James E. Gern, William W. Busse

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Background: Rhinitis and asthma are linked, but substantial knowledge gaps in this relationship exist. Objective: We sought to determine the prevalence of rhinitis and its phenotypes in children and adolescents with asthma, assess symptom severity and medication requirements for rhinitis control, and investigate associations between rhinitis and asthma. Methods: Seven hundred forty-nine children with asthma participating in the Asthma Phenotypes in the Inner-City study received baseline evaluations and were managed for 1 year with algorithm-based treatments for rhinitis and asthma. Rhinitis was diagnosed by using a questionnaire focusing on individual symptoms, and predefined phenotypes were determined by combining symptom patterns with skin tests and measurement of serum specific IgE levels. Results: Analyses were done on 619 children with asthma who completed at least 4 of 6 visits. Rhinitis was present in 93.5%, and phenotypes identified at baseline were confirmed during the observation/management year. Perennial allergic rhinitis with seasonal exacerbations was most common (34.2%) and severe. Nonallergic rhinitis was least common (11.3%) and least severe. The majority of children remained symptomatic despite use of nasal corticosteroids with or without oral antihistamines. Rhinitis was worse in patients with difficult-to-control versus easy-to-control asthma, and its seasonal patterns partially corresponded to those of difficult–to-control asthma. Conclusion: Rhinitis is almost ubiquitous in urban children with asthma, and its activity tracks that of lower airway disease. Perennial allergic rhinitis with seasonal exacerbations is the most severe phenotype and most likely to be associated with difficult-to-control asthma. This study offers strong support to the concept that rhinitis and asthma represent the manifestations of 1 disease in 2 parts of the airways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1003-1011.e10
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2019


  • Rhinitis prevalence
  • asthma
  • rhinitis management
  • rhinitis phenotypes
  • rhinoconjunctivitis


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