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Treatment Costs Nearly Double For Hay Fever and Other Allergies

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AHRQ News and Numbers

Release date: June 11, 2008

Americans spent $11 billion on doctors' bills, prescription drugs, and other medical care to relieve allergy symptoms such as itchy or watery eyes, stuffy noses, wheezing, coughing, and headaches in 2005, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The cost is nearly double the $6 billion spent in 2000.

AHRQ's analysis looked at spending on allergies, such as hay fever and other allergies caused by plant pollens, dust, dander, or animal hair. AHRQ's data indicated that:

  • In 2005, about 22 million Americans reported visiting a doctor, obtaining a prescription drug, being hospitalized, getting home care, or experiencing allergy symptoms.
  • Visits to doctors' office and hospital outpatient departments for allergies care accounted for $4 billion. The remaining roughly $7 billion was spent mostly on prescription drugs.
  • Between 2000 and 2005, average annual spending on treatment of allergies jumped from $350 per person to $520 per person.

AHRQ, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, works to enhance the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care in the United States. The data in this AHRQ News and Numbers summary are taken from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, a detailed source of information on the health services used by Americans, the frequency with which they are used, the cost of those services, and how they are paid. For more information, go to Allergic Rhinitis: Trends in Use and Expenditures, 2000 and 2005.

For other information, or to speak with an AHRQ data expert, please contact Bob Isquith at or call 301-427-1539.

Current as of June 2008


The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


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