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Pharmacol Res. 2003 Jun;47(6):541-7.

Effects of zafirlukast on bronchial asthma and allergic rhinitis.

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Institute of Respiratory Diseases, Ospedale Maggiore di Milano, IRCCS, University of Milan, Milan, Italy.


Asthma and allergic rhinitis are common conditions, occurring with increasing prevalence and frequently coexist. In both conditions histamine and cysteinil leukotrienes are important pathogenic inflammatory mediators. We evaluated the effects of the leukotriene receptor antagonist zafirlukast, 20mg administered twice daily for 2 weeks, in patients with allergic rhinitis and bronchial asthma during the grass pollen season. Patients underwent skin prick testing, spirometry, rhinomanometry, mucus transport test with saccharine, nasal epithelial brushing to study ciliary beat and, finally, nasal lavage.Thirty-five subjects completed the study. At the end of the study period, zafirlukast significantly reduced asthma and rhinitis symptoms (P< or =0.05); FEV(1) values were unchanged (P=0.10), whereas nasal resistances showed a decrease following treatment (P=0.01). Ciliary beat frequency (CBF) also improved (P=0.00), although mucociliary transport showed no improvement (P=0.87). The number of eosinophils in nasal lavage fluid decreased (P=0.00) while that of neutrophils was unchanged (P=0.09). These positive effects suggest that zafirlukast may be usefully employed in the treatment of both bronchial asthma, as previously demonstrated, and allergic rhinitis.

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