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Allergy. 2004 Mar;59(3):280-8.

Montelukast plus cetirizine in the prophylactic treatment of seasonal allergic rhinitis: influence on clinical symptoms and nasal allergic inflammation.

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Division of Pneumonology and Allergology, Department of Medicine, Medical University of Łódź, Łódź, Poland.



The aim of our study was to investigate effects of 6-week pretreatment of seasonal allergic rhinitis (AR) with cetirizine, and montelukast, alone and in combination. Antihistamine/antileukotriene treatment is effective in AR. Antihistamines may prevent AR symptoms while prophylactic activity of antileukotrienes remains unclear.


Sixty AR patients, aged 18-35 years, were randomized to receive placebo, montelukast only, cetirizine only, or montelukast plus cetirizine, 6 weeks prior and 6 weeks after the beginning of grass pollen season. Mean self-recorded in-season symptom scores and mean weekly all-symptom scores were analyzed. In 31 patients, nasal lavages were performed before treatment, and at the end of the study, i.e. 12 weeks after the treatment initiation. Eosinophil and basophil counts, eosinophil cationic protein (ECP), and mast cell tryptase (MCT) levels were evaluated in lavage samples.


Combined montelukast/cetirizine pretreatment significantly reduced in-season symptom score for sneezing, eye itching, nasal itching, rhinorrhea, and congestion. Montelukast plus cetirizine were more effective than cetirizine alone in preventing eye itching, rhinorrhea, and nasal itching. Moreover, combined pretreatment with montelukast and cetirizine delayed appearance of AR symptoms. Eosinophil nasal lavage fluid counts were significantly increased during pollen season in placebo and montelukast-only groups. No differences were observed in basophil counts. The in-season ECP level was significantly increased in all groups except montelukast-plus-cetirizine group. In-season MCT levels were not increased.


Combined antihistamine and antileukotriene treatment started 6 weeks before the pollen season is effective in preventing AR symptoms and reduces allergic inflammation in nasal mucosa during natural allergen exposure.

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