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Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2011 Feb;106(2):97-102. doi: 10.1016/j.anai.2010.11.013. Epub 2011 Jan 8.

The role of pseudoephedrine on daytime somnolence in patients suffering from perennial allergic rhinitis (PAR).

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Penn State University, Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, Pennsylvania, USA.



Allergic rhinitis is one of several inflammatory diseases affecting the nasal mucosa. Cellular inflammation of nasal mucosa is a hallmark of this disease and is characterized by the accumulation of eosinophils and the release of various chemical messengers such as chemokines, cytokines, and histamine. This inflammation of the nose leads to nasal congestion and a reduction in sleep quality, resulting in daytime somnolence.


Drugs that significantly reduce the symptoms of nasal congestion also may help in alleviating sleep-related symptoms of allergic rhinitis. Pseudoephedrine is a sympathomimetic amine that is indicated for treatment of nasal congestion associated with allergic rhinitis. Despite relieving nasal congestion, we speculated that, because of pseudoephedrine's well-known stimulant profile, sleep would not be improved.


Fourteen subjects who met the inclusion criteria were enrolled into a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study to either pseudoephedrine or placebo once per day in the morning, using the traditional crossover design. Skin testing test was performed to ensure a positive response to a relevant perennial allergen and a negative response to a seasonal allergen. Several questionnaires were used to evaluate the patients' sleep-related symptoms, allergic rhinitis symptoms, and quality of life.


Our results showed that pseudoephedrine did not have a positive or negative effect on quality of sleep, daytime sleepiness, or daytime fatigue as compared with placebo. Pseudoephedrine did show a statistical significance in improving stuffy nose (P = .0172). With respect to quality of life, pseudoephedrine led to a statistically significant decrease in intimate relationships and sexual activity as compared with the placebo group (P = .0310).


Our research suggests that sleep quality is not significantly affected by pseudoephedrine. As expected, congestion is reduced, but side effects such as a decline of intimate relationships and sexual activity may interfere with quality of life.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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