Association between Grass Pollen exposures and Over the Counter Allergy Medication sales in Subtropical Queensland

The prevalence of allergic rhinitis in Australia is amongst the highest compared to most other countries. The burden of allergic diseases attributed to direct medical costs in Australia was estimated at $1.2 billion in 2007. The sales of allergic rhinitis medications doubled between 2001 and 2010, going from $107.8 million to $226.8 million per year.

The sales of over the counter (OTC) medications for self-management of allergic rhinitis during pollen seasons has been used as an indicator of when patients experience symptoms to understand the impact of pollen exposure levels on the community. Previous studies suggest that there is an association with daily airborne pollen levels and daily sales of medications for treatment of allergic rhinitis.

Subtropical regions are dominated by subtropical grasses. These grasses have an increased ability to withstand climate fluctuations which can potentially stimulate more pollen production. Comparison of grass pollen concentrations in a subtropical region with OTC sales for allergic rhinitis medication will provide an insight to pollen thresholds of exposure that are associated with allergic rhinitis symptoms and may assist with surveillance of allergic diseases within a subtropical region. We hypothesize that daily airborne pollen concentrations in South East QLD exemplified by pollen monitoring at Rocklea will be associated with the daily point-of-care pharmacy sales for oral antihistamines (OAH) and intranasal corticosteroids (INCS).

Funding / Grants

  • Centre for Children’s Health Research Scholarship Stipend (2017 - 2021)

Chief Investigators

Other Team Members

  • Professor Sinthia Bosnic-Anticevich, Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney
  • Dr Darren Wraith, QUT School of Public Health, Brisbane
  • Mr Mike De Gama, Director of NostraData
  • Mr Nick Biggs, Business Manager of NostraData
  • Mr Michael Reynolds, Data Analyst of NostraData