Allergic rhinitis – cortisone nasal sprays on prescription
Certain patients diagnosed with allergic rhinitis can now receive cortisone-containing nasal sprays again on prescription and at the expense of public health insurers.
“We are very pleased that we were able to convince the Federal Joint Committee of this measure,” emphasized Prof. Martin Wagenmann, ENT section spokesman of the German Society for Allergology and Clinical Immunology (DGAKI) and one of the initiators.
Previously, the amendment to the German Drug Prescription Ordinance (AMVV) had ensured that so-called intranasal glucocorticoids (GK), i.e. nasal sprays containing cortisone, were exempted from prescription requirements and thus became chargeable for patients.
Among physicians and patients, the innovation caused criticism. “When patients can get over-the-counter medications at the pharmacy, they no longer have a reason to go to the doctor,” concludes Prof. Wagenmann, “but they then also do not receive a qualified diagnosis, and incorrect self-medication could be the result”.
Patients who self-medicate also do not receive information about other effective treatment options, such as causative allergen immunotherapy (AIT). Allergy experts feared therefore a lack of supply of the allergy patients and requested the common Federal Committee (G-BA) to modify the regulation.
Allergic rhinitis and possible limitations
An allergic rhinitis does not limit those affected by the typical symptoms alone. Studies show that sleep disturbances, daytime fatigue, concentration problems and reduction of mental performance can also occur. “Also proven is a clear link between allergic rhinitis and allergic asthma,” adds Prof. Wagenmann adds.
The professional societies, including the DGAKI, have now succeeded in ensuring that patients with moderate to severe persistent allergic rhinitis can once again be prescribed cortisone-containing nasal sprays.
Persistent allergic rhinitis is defined as a persistent allergic rhinitis. “This can be the case with an allergy to house dust mites, or if a pollen allergy sufferer is allergic to early bloomers, such as birch, hazel, alder, as well as to grasses and herbs” according to Prof. Wagenmann.
Moderate to severe allergic rhinitis, according to the ARIA (“Allergic Rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma”) classification, is when there is disruptive discomfort, impaired sleep, problems at work or school, and limitations in daytime activities such as sports or recreation. “This symptomatology is reported by most patients with allergic rhinitis” explains Prof. Wagenmann.