Patient experiences of post-infectious olfactory dysfunction

Carl M. Philpott, James Boardman, Duncan Boak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
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Introduction: To highlight the importance of the need for new treatment modalities, this study aimed to characterise the experience of patients with postinfectious olfactory dysfunction (PIOD) in terms of the treatment they received. 

Methods: An online survey was hosted by the Norwich Clinical Trials Unit on the secure REDCap server. Members of the charity Fifth Sense (the UK charity that represents and supports people affected by smell and taste disorders) were invited to participate. 

Results: There were 149 respondents, of whom 127 had identified themselves as having (or had) PIOD. The age range of respondents to the survey was 28-85 years, with a mean of 58 ± 12 years, with the duration of their disorder <5 years in 63% of cases. Respondents reported experiencing variable treatment with oral and/or intranasal steroids given typically (28%), often with no benefit, but with 50% receiving no treatment whatsoever; only 3% reported undertaking olfactory training. Over two-thirds of patients experience parosmia and, up to 5 years from the onset of the problem, were still actively seeking a solution. 

Conclusion: There appears to be a need to encourage greater use of guidelines for olfactory disorders amongst medical practitioners and also to develop more effective treatments for patients with PIOD, where there is clearly an unmet need.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299–303
Number of pages5
JournalJournal for Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number5
Early online date10 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2021


  • Anosmia
  • Olfactory dysfunction
  • Parosmia
  • Post-viral olfactory loss
  • Postinfectious olfactory dysfunction
  • Therapeutics

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