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Pharmacotherapy. 1989;9(6):338-50.

Management of allergic rhinitis: focus on intranasal agents.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacy Services, William Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, Michigan.


The clinical manifestations of allergic rhinitis are the result of an immune-mediated process after exposure of a sensitized individual to airborne allergens. The primary symptomatology includes nasal congestion, rhinorrhea, nasal and conjunctival pruritus, and sneezing. Principles of management include allergen avoidance, palliative therapy, immunotherapy, and pharmacotherapy. Oral decongestants stimulate alpha-adrenergic receptors in the nasal cavity, resulting in vasoconstriction and decreased edema. Oral antihistamines block histamine1 (H1) receptors, and may relieve rhinorrhea, sneezing, and nasal and conjunctival pruritus. Topical decongestants have a local effect on adrenergic receptors in the nasal mucosa, resulting in rapid, marked vasoconstriction. Intranasal corticosteroids inhibit mediator release from mast cells and basophils, and reduce edema of the nasal mucosa. Dexamethasone sodium phosphate, beclomethasone dipropionate, and flunisolide are currently available for intranasal administration. Cromolyn sodium inhibits allergen-induced degranulation and mediator release from sensitized cells, and is useful primarily as a prophylactic agent. Several agents, including the corticosteroids budesonide and flucortin butylester, the mast cell-stabilizing agent nedocromil sodium, the anticholinergic agent ipratropium bromide, and the H1 receptor antagonist levocabastine are being investigated for intranasal use in the management of allergic rhinitis.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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