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Drugs. 2001;61(11):1563-79.

Intranasal corticosteroids for allergic rhinitis: superior relief?

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  • 1Department of Clinical Pharmacology, University of Aarhus, Denmark. lpn@dadlnet.dk


Whether first-line pharmacological treatment of allergic rhinitis should be antihistamines or intranasal corticosteroids has been discussed for several years. First-generation antihistamines are rarely used in the treatment of allergic rhinitis, mainly because of sedative and anticholinergic adverse effects. On the basis of clinical evidence of efficacy, no second-generation antihistamine seems preferable to another. Similarly, comparisons of topical and oral antihistamines have been unable to demonstrate superior efficacy for one method of administration over the other. Current data documents no striking differences in efficacy and safety parameters between intranasal corticosteroids. When the efficacy of antihistamines and intranasal corticosteroids are compared in patients with allergic rhinitis, present data favours intranasal corticosteroids. Interestingly, data do not show antihistamines as superior for the treatment of conjunctivitis. Safety data from comparative studies in patients with allergic rhinitis do not indicate differences between antihistamines and intranasal corticosteroids. Combining antihistamines and intranasal corticosteroids in the treatment of allergic rhinitis does not provide any additional effect to intranasal corticosteroids alone. On the basis of current data, intranasal corticosteroids seem to offer superior relief in allergic rhinitis than antihistamines.

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