According to research presented at the 2016 American Rhinologic Society Annual Meeting, an estimated 28 million Americans are currently suffering from the symptoms of chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS)—a nasal inflammatory condition.

Findings were released from a large population-based epidemiological study. The study assessed the self-reported prevalence, severity, and patterns of CRS type illnesses in the general population, including their symptoms and the treatments they currently use to manage the disease. Conducted in collaboration between OptiNose and Blockbuster Strategy Group, a diverse group of 10,336 adults representative of the general US population (for example with regard to geography, socioeconomic status, gender, age) was surveyed about their health and symptoms. From the larger group, 791 people who reported the diagnostic symptoms of chronic nasal inflammatory disease received additional in-depth interview questions. Researchers studied the impact of the disease on the patient population, and patient satisfaction with current treatment options. One finding was that people who reported that they had the symptoms of CRS felt that their symptoms were not just chronic but also surprisingly severe (63% of subjects were categorized as “severe” sufferers, and 46% of the severe sufferers reported they were a 9 or 10 on a 0-10 scale).

“These findings help quantify what many of us who treat these patients have long known: CRS afflicts a surprisingly large percentage of the adult US population, and can take a toll on people who have it. It is not the same as allergic rhinitis and it is not just a runny nose. This study also reveals the high level of ongoing frustration with symptom control that still exists despite current treatment options. We need more treatment options,” says James Palmer, MD, an author of the study and professor and Director of the Division of Rhinology at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and former Secretary of the American Rhinologic Society (ARS), in a release.

CRS affects the sinuses and the nasal cavity, including narrow passages deep in the nose, with chronic inflammation causing the same types of problems as it does in other parts of the body, including redness, pain, swelling, and damage to the inflamed surfaces. The inflamed areas may also have impaired ability to clear inhaled particles and pathogens, so infections and allergies may also be more frequent or severe. The symptoms of CRS can be moderate to severe, and by definition last for a minimum of eight consecutive weeks per year, though they may last for many months or years.

The study also found that:

  • Approximately 30% of severe CRS sufferers report problems with sleep and poor mood throughout the year in addition to the core symptoms of the disease (pain/pressure in the face, nasal congestion/obstruction, nasal drainage, and loss of the ability to smell). Symptom flare-ups can periodically complicate the chronic condition and may require medications or a visit to the doctor’s office.
  • CRS symptoms caused 16% of severe sufferers (an estimated 4.5 million people) to miss 15 days of school or work in the past year due to the disease and to wish they had missed an additional 29 days because of their symptoms, suggesting that on the equivalent of almost one day of every week these sufferers either did not go, or wished they had not gone, to school or work.
  • Most CRS patients seek medical care and report having turned to various prescription and over-the-counter medications and/or surgery for their disease.
  • The majority of studied people reporting CRS symptoms have seen a doctor in the past year, and 60% report having seen a doctor five times or more in the past year for their nasal symptoms.
  • Study data suggest that an estimated 7 million people with symptoms of CRS have already resorted to surgery in the nose and sinuses to try to get relief. Unfortunately, previously published evidence suggests that the use of medication for symptom control is almost unchanged after surgery, and that approximately 16% of people resort to multiple surgeries to try and get relief.

The research was funded by OptiNose, a specialty pharmaceutical/biotech company that is using a unique nasal technology to develop new treatments in disease areas where there is a large population of patients whose needs are not being met with current treatment options.