Intranasal corticosteroids (INCSs) are the first-line treatment for patients with moderate to severe conditions of allergic rhinitis (AR) as per current guidelines. However, patients' knowledge and practice towards the safety of such medications remains ambiguous. Therefore, this study was undertaken to identify the awareness of and knowledge about the safety of nasal corticosteroid usage in patients with allergic rhinitis as well as their adherence to taking the medication.
Materials and methods
We conducted a cross-sectional study from June to September 2020 at Imam Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University Medical Center, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Data were collected through questionnaire-based surveys, and a total of 375 patients were enrolled in the study. The eligibility criteria included all adult patients diagnosed with allergic rhinitis.
Most of the patients had used intranasal corticosteroids. However, only two-fifths of patients stated these medications were effective and only 27% thought they were safe to use. More than half of the patients expressed concerns about using intranasal corticosteroids; however, there was no difference among the patients when asked if their concerns made them discontinue their medication. The majority of patients (73.3%) did not receive appropriate advice on how to use intranasal corticosteroids, but most were compliant with the therapy regardless of their uncertainty about the medication’s safety (71.5%). Most patients reported a benefit of using intranasal corticosteroids (71.5%). Half of the patients (53.9%) reported being aware of a special technique for how to use a nasal spray, but the nonsmokers were more knowledgeable about the techniques than the smokers (p = 0.007).
The patients' knowledge about, adherence to, and perceptions of intranasal corticosteroid use were found to be suboptimal. Patients’ age, gender, socioeconomic status, education level, and smoking status were recognized as potential barriers to a positive perception of and adherence to the treatment plan. Corrective measures are needed to ensure better health outcomes.