The Influence of Pollen Concentration on the Dispension of Antihistaminics and Corticosteroids to Hay Fever Patients
Climate change may induce alterations in the start and duration of the pollen season. Future changes in climate are likely to significantly advance the start of the pollen season and change the pollen concentration in the atmosphere. These changes may have consequences for the use and costs of medication for allergic rhinitis (AR). The aim of the study presented here was to investigate the effects of changes in the pollen concentration on medication dispensing and medication costs. Weekly pharmacy dispensing data on medication for hay fever and the associated costs were modeled using weekly pollen counts for different species during the period 2001–2005. Both the pollen counts and the pharmacy data have been collected from the Netherlands. The majority of the annually dispensed AR-medication appeared not to be directly related to pollen counts and was dispensed outside the pollen season. However, the large weekly variation in AR medication dispersion and costs could be attributed to a substantial degree to grass, Birch and Alder pollen concentration in the atmosphere. This significant impact of weekly pollen counts on the variation in medication dispensing suggests the importance of changes in pollen concentration in determining the incidence of symptoms. Climate change induced changing pollen seasons will make it more difficult for patients and health professionals to anticipate the need for AR medication.
KeywordsPollen Concentration Pollen Season Pollen Count Fever Patient Ambrosia Artemisiifolia
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