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Ann Allergy. 1991 Mar;66(3):237-44.

Comparison of intranasal cromolyn sodium, 4%, and oral terfenadine for allergic rhinitis: symptoms, nasal cytology, nasal ciliary clearance, and rhinomanometry.

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Allergy and Asthma Medical Group and Research Center, San Diego, California.


Topical intranasal cromolyn sodium, 4% solution, and oral terfenadine, 60 mg tablets, both relieve symptoms of allergic rhinitis with few or no adverse effects, but no comparison of their relative efficacy has been reported. In this double-blind, double-dummy study, 79 patients, ages 12-56 years with symptoms of allergic rhinitis, were randomized to receive either active cromolyn sodium, 1 spray in each nostril QID, or active terfenadine BID along with the appropriate placebo spray or tablet for 4 weeks following a 1-week baseline qualification period. Patients' daily symptom scores were reviewed weekly and constituted the primary efficacy measures. Changes in nasal cytology, nasal ciliary clearance, and rhinomanometry were also assessed. The presence of adverse effects and the overall score of medication efficacy at the end of each week was recorded. The cromolyn sodium and terfenadine groups had comparable baseline scores for severity of allergic rhinitis symptoms and both treatments resulted in significant improvement (P less than .0001) with no statistical difference between them for total symptom scores at the end of 4 weeks. Eosinophils in nasal samples were decreased significantly in the cromolyn treated group with no significant change in the terfenadine-treated group. There were no significant differences between treatment groups in ciliary clearance or rhinomanometry. Adverse effects were uncommon and mild. We conclude that cromolyn sodium and terfenadine are comparably effective and well-accepted treatments for allergic rhinitis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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