Data from Clinical & Experimental Allergy - Curated by EPG Health - Date available 01 February 2004

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1 February 2004

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BACKGROUND: Corticosteroids are considered to be particularly effective in reducing nasal congestion and are therefore recommended as first-line treatment in allergic rhinitis patients with moderate to severe and/or persistent symptoms.

OBJECTIVE: We compared the clinical efficacy of fluticasone propionate aqueous nasal spray (FPANS) 200 microg given once daily, administered in mono-therapy or combined therapy with a H1 receptor antagonist (cetirizine, CTZ) or with a leukotriene antagonist (montelukast, MSK), and the combined therapy of CTZ plus MSK in the treatment of patients affected by allergic rhinitis to Parietaria during natural pollen exposure. In addition, we examined the effect of the treatment on eosinophil counts and eosinophil cationic protein (ECP) in nasal lavage performed at beginning of season, during season and at the end of the season.

METHODS: One hundred patients aged 12-50 years (mean+/-SD 31.8+/-9.6) with a history of moderate to severe Parietaria pollen-induced seasonal allergic rhinitis were selected. A randomized, double-blind, double dummy, placebo (PLA)-controlled, parallel-group study design was used. Patients were treated FPANS 200 microg once daily (n=20) or with FPANS 200 microg once daily, plus CTZ (10 mg) in the morning (n=20), or with FPANS 200 microg once daily, plus MSK (10 mg) in the evening (n=20) or with CTZ (10 mg) in the morning plus MSK in the evening (n=20) or matched PLA (n=20). Assessment of efficacy was based on scores of daily nasal symptoms and on eosinophil counts and ECP in nasal lavage.

RESULTS: All treatments showed significant differences (P<0.001) compared with PLA in terms of total symptom, rhinorrhea, sneezing and nasal itching scores. Concerning nasal congestion on waking and daily only the groups treated with FPANS in mono-therapy or in combined therapy showed significant differences compared with PLA. Comparing the group treated with FPANS alone and the groups treated with FPANS plus CTZ, we found significant differences for total symptom score (P=0.04) and for nasal itching (P=0.003). The comparison between FPANS plus CTZ and FPANS plus MSK showed significant difference for nasal itching (P=0.003). Finally, there were significant differences between the group treated with FPANS and the group treated with CTZ plus MSK for total symptom score (P=0.009), for nasal congestion on waking (P<0.001) and nasal congestion daily (P<0.001). Also the comparisons between the group treated with FPANS plus CTZ and the group treated with CTZ plus MSK demonstrated significant differences (P<0.001) for total symptom, for nasal congestion on waking and for nasal congestion on daily, for rhinorrhea (P=0.04) and for nasal itching (P=0.003) scores. Concerning the comparison between the group treated with FPANS plus MSK and the group treated with CTZ plus MSK we found significant differences for total symptom score (P=0.005), for nasal congestion on waking (P<0.001) and for nasal congestion on daily (P<0.001). No other differences were observed between the groups. Concerning blood eosinophil counts, significant differences were found between the treatments with FPANS in mono-therapy or in combined therapy with PLA group during and at the end of the season (P=0.0003 and P<0.0001, respectively). Concerning eosinophils and ECP in nasal lavage, all treatments showed significant differences (P<0.001) compared with PLA. Besides, there were significant differences (P<0.001) between the groups treated with FPANS alone or in combined therapy and the group treated with CTZ plus MSK.

CONCLUSION: The results of this comparative study demonstrate that FPANS is highly effective for treating patients affected by allergic rhinitis, with efficacy exceeding that of CTZ plus MSK in combined therapy. In addition, the regular combined therapy of FPANS plus CTZ or plus MSK would not seem to offer substantial advantage with respect to FPANS in mono-therapy in patients affected by seasonal allergic rhinitis.

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