Allergic rhinitis is a condition which shows a high prevalence throughout the world. Once a person is sensitized to a specific allergen, spontaneous resolution of the allergy occurs only very rarely and this results in a steady accumulation of patient population. Worldwide attention to this affliction is being paid from both the medical and the economic perspectives. In Japan, the most typical seasonal allergic rhinitis is caused by cedar pollen during the spring months of late February to early May. Rough estimates of a 15 to 20% prevalence rate have been reported and hence Japanese cedar pollinosis is deemed as a national disease. The efficacy and cost-effectiveness of the treatment are of great concern to the social medical system of Japan. Previously there have been several reports regarding the cost-effectiveness of new medications and desensitization immunotherapy. The authors have previously reported their experience of treating allergic rhinitis with the Nd:YAG laser and its efficacy. However there are no reports, as of yet, on the cost-effectiveness of this procedure. The authors compared the costs of three typical treatment protocols for cedar pollenosis: Nd:YAG laser treatment, anti-histamine prescription and desensitization immunotherapy. The results revealed that the direct costs associated with the Nd:YAG laser treatment were less compared to the two other treatment protocols. The authors also believe that the indirect economical losses associated with allergic rhinitis such as loss of work force for hospital visits was also lessened with the Nd:YAG laser treatment.
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