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Antihistamine treatment for allergic rhinitis: Different routes, different outcomes?

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Allergic rhinitis is one of the most common chronic disorders in the United States, causing patients significant discomfort and interfering with quality of life and functioning. Histamine is the primary mediator in the development of allergic rhinitis symptoms and is a primary therapeutic target. Guidelines, both in the United States and globally, recommend antihistamines as first-line therapy of allergic rhinitis. This article discusses the outcomes associated with intranasal versus oral administration of antihistamines. Both oral and intranasal antihistamines are approved for the first-line treatment of allergic rhinitis and both formulations result in a reduction in symptoms and an improvement in quality of life. Intranasal agents may be preferred in patients in whom nasal congestion is particularly bothersome or in cases where a more rapid onset of action is desired. Oral agents would be a better choice in young children (especially children who are at risk of developing asthma), in cases of poor medication compliance, and in patients who are bothered most by histamine-associated symptoms, such as itching or red and watery eyes. Both oral and intranasal antihistamines are safe and well tolerated and meet the needs of patients with allergic rhinitis, especially those with mild to moderate disease.

Keywords: Allergic rhinitis; azelastine; intranasal antihistamines; nasal congestion; olopatadine; onset of action; oral antihistamines; quality of life; safety; second-generation antihistamines

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Capital Allergy and Respiratory Disease Center, Sacramento, California, USA.

Publication date: 2009-11-01

More about this publication?
  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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