Top Doc: Dr. Anthony Ricci

Editor's Note: Every year, Rhode Island Monthly releases its Top Docs issue. These are doctors in a variety of specialties who are named tops in their field by their peers. The complete list of Top Docs will be in the May 2013 issue of Rhode Island Monthly.

Maribeth Carcieri is in for her spring allergy exam with Dr. Anthony Ricci.

"I've always had allergies since I was 2. I had skin allergies," Carcieri said.

Carcieri started to see Ricci when her allergies were really bad in college. Ricci is an allergy and asthma specialist.

"I have two jobs where I'm working in a shoe store and there are boxes of dust," Carcieri said. "And then I teach health and fitness. So, I'm on the floor a lot instructing.

This year, Ricci has something new up his sleeve: a combination of nasal steroids and antihistamines.

With one spray twice a day, the patient gets two different medicines that attack allergies. And there are other options.

"It's exciting because finally, since 1997, we can treat patients with a dry formula that gets up higher into the nose, sticks to the tissue, and it's just a different option. It gives us another option to treat allergies," Ricci said.

These new dry nasal sprays are back after a 16-year hiatus because the old formulas contained a derivative that threatened the ozone layer. With these new treatments comes better compliance and better results, Ricci said.

Bob Smith is the beneficiary of a combination of shots and new medications for his environmental allergies.

"I went from 12 weeks a year taking pills down to two. So, that's very good for me," Smith said.

It's not just environmental allergies patients come in with.

"Every day an allergist is a detective, and we're trying to figure out what's going on, what's bothering these patients, what's affecting their quality of life," Ricci said.

Ricci has received Top Docs honors since the beginning. He's shy about talking about it. His patients aren't.

"He always goes outside the box, which I like," Carcieri said.

Ricci is one of five allergy specialists who made the list this year. He said he's humbled and honored.