ATLANTA (FRONTLINE MEDICAL NEWS) – Results from a large cross-sectional survey of adults who meet diagnostic symptom criteria for chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) reveal that most report suffering significant symptoms, high rates of physician visits, and dissatisfaction with current intranasal steroid sprays.

“Chronic rhinosinusitis is common, it’s severe, and people are seeking a lot of medical care,” study author Ramy A. Mahmoud, MD, said in an interview at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. “It’s causing a lot of disruption in their lives, and they’re not satisfied with currently available intranasal steroids.”

While CRS has been linked to increased use of health care and antibiotics, most U.S. epidemiologic data on the condition comes from administrative health claims databases, said Dr. Mahmoud, president and chief operating officer of Yardley, Pa.–based OptiNose. “Those are subject to their own limitations,” he said. “For example, in claims data you get coding bias because it’s also used for reimbursement.”

In an effort to better characterize the prevalence and burden of illness in adults with symptoms of CRS, Dr. Mahmoud and his associates conducted a population-based survey of 10,336 U.S. adults drawn from a representative general panel of 4.3 million. They recruited participants via websites, email, phone, online communities, and social networks and collected information about nasal symptoms, frequency, duration, and severity/bother of nasal symptoms and health care use and treatments.

The researchers found that almost 12% of survey respondents self-reported symptoms that met diagnostic criteria for CRS. Of these, 63.5% were classified as having severe CRS without known nasal polyps (CRSsNP), 27% had moderate CRSsNP, and 9.6% had CRS with known nasal polyps (CRSwNP). In addition, 87%-99% of patients reported seeing a physician for their symptoms and/or taking a prescription medicine for their CRS symptoms in the past year. In fact, 60% of CRSwNP patients, 58% of severe CRSsNP patients, and 33% of moderate CRSsNP patients said they made more than five physician visits in the past year for nose and sinus symptoms.

The frequency of key CRS symptoms was similar in patients with and without nasal polyps, except that those with severe CRSsNP reported higher rates of facial pain/pressure (in the range of 60%-65%) and loss of smell/taste (46%-56%). The most frequently reported core symptoms were nasal congestion (94%-97%) and drainage (89%-92%). Despite currently available treatment options, up to 46% of CRS patients reported that they remain “extremely” affected by symptoms, and 79% of all CRS patients expressed concern about flare-ups. In addition, a large proportion of respondents expressed frustration with the inadequate symptom relief produced by their current intranasal corticosteroid (87% of CRSwNP patients, 86% of severe CRSsNP patients, and 63% of moderate CRSsNP patients).

Dr. Mahmoud said that the findings indicate a role for more and/or improved treatment options to meet the needs of this patient population. “People who have CRS have it pretty bad,” he said. “Very few people are not seeking a lot of medical care for their symptoms.”

The study was funded by OptiNose.