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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

House dust mite avoidance measures for perennial allergic rhinitis.

BACKGROUND: In developed countries, it is estimated that 15% of the general population suffer from one or more allergic disorders, of which allergic rhinitis is the most common. Perennial rhinitis is most often due to allergy to the house dust mite. In such patients, house dust mite avoidance is logical, but there is considerable uncertainty regarding the efficacy and effectiveness of interventions designed to reduce dust mite exposure. OBJECTIVES: To assess the benefit (and harm) of measures designed to reduce house dust mite exposure in the management of house dust mite sensitive allergic rhinitis. SEARCH STRATEGY: We searched the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, Central, MEDLINE and EMBASE. No restrictions on the language of publication were employed. The bibliography of each paper and other published reviews were checked for further references. We wrote to first authors of all included trials in an attempt to identify further published and unpublished trials. SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomised controlled trial (with or without blinding), in which house dust mite control measures have been evaluated in comparison with placebo or other dust mite avoidance measures, in patients with clinician diagnosed allergic rhinitis and confirmed allergy to dust mite. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two reviewers independently checked titles and abstracts identified by the searches and full text copies of all papers of potential relevance were considered. Trials were graded for methodological quality using the Cochrane approach. Data extraction was performed in a standardised manner. Meta-analysis was neither possible, nor considered appropriate, because of the heterogeneity of the patient groups studied; a narrative overview of the results is therefore presented. MAIN RESULTS: Four trials satisfied the inclusion criteria, all of which were small and of poor quality. Two trials investigated the efficacy of acaricides, a third investigated the role of high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters, whilst a fourth investigated the efficacy of a bedroom environmental control program that comprised use of a barrier mattress cover, fortnightly washing of bed covers, removal of soft furnishings and daily cleaning. Each of the four trials showed the interventions to result in significant reductions in house dust mite load when compared with control. Trial results suggest that the interventions may be effective in reducing some rhinitis symptoms, though it is not possible to provide a reliable summary estimate about the magnitude of such symptom reduction. No serious adverse effects were reported from the interventions. REVIEWER'S CONCLUSIONS: Trials to date have been small and of poor methodological quality making it difficult to offer any definitive recommendations on the role, if any, of house dust mite avoidance measures in the management of house dust mite sensitive perennial allergic rhinitis. The results of these studies suggest that interventions designed to reduce house dust mite exposure in patients with house dust mite allergic perennial rhinitis may be of some benefit in reducing rhinitis symptoms. Data at present is only available for acaricides, HEPA filters and a bedroom-based environmental control program; therefore, if considered appropriate, these should be the interventions of choice.[1]


  1. House dust mite avoidance measures for perennial allergic rhinitis. Sheikh, A., Hurwitz, B. Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) (2001) [Pubmed]
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