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Intranasal spray medications for maintenance therapy of allergic rhinitis

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Intranasal sprays are recommended as targeted therapy for allergic rhinitis (AR) by providing direct delivery of medication to the nasal mucosa, reducing the potential for systemic adverse effects, decreasing burden of disease, and improving quality of life.


To review currently available intranasal sprays indicated for maintenance therapy of AR in the United States: intranasal antihistamines (INAH); intranasal corticosteroids (INCS); and MP-AzeFlu, a single formulation nasal spray of the INAH, azelastine hydrochloride, and the INCS, fluticasone propionate.


MEDLINE searches were conducted to identify placebo-controlled studies of commercially available prescription nasal sprays at U.S.-approved doses and indications, and published after an earlier systematic review of AR treatment. Inclusion criteria were ≥20 subjects; duration of ≥2 weeks for seasonal (or episodic) AR, ≥4 weeks for perennial (or persistent) AR, and reporting a total nasal symptom score as a primary or secondary outcome.


Twenty studies met the inclusion criteria: 4 pediatric, 16 adult/adolescent. There were 4 perennial AR studies (381 children, 1607 adults) and 16 seasonal AR trials (3081 children, 6548 adults). In these studies, 2451 subjects (481 children, 1970 adults) received an INCS, 3001 (1116 children, 1885 adults) received an INAH, and 346 adult subjects received MP-AzeFlu. All active treatments were well tolerated and effective as measured by the reduction in nasal symptoms. Head-to-head comparisons were only available for MP-AzeFlu versus the individual active agent components. MP-AzeFlu provided significantly greater symptom relief than either azelastine or fluticasone propionate alone and with an onset starting at 30 minutes after the dose.


The most recent addition to intranasal sprays for the maintenance therapy of AR is MP-AzeFlu, a single formulation nasal spray of azelastine hydrochloride and fluticasone propionate in an advanced delivery system. Analysis of clinical data showed this to be the first new intranasal medication that provides greater clinical benefit than an INCS in treating AR.
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Keywords: Allergic rhinitis; burden of disease; episodic rhinitis; intranasal antihistamines; intranasal corticosteroids; intranasal sprays; perennial allergic rhinitis; persistent rhinitis; rhinitis quality of life; seasonal allergic rhinitis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Division of Basic Clinical Immunology, University of California Irvine, School of Medicine, and Allergy and Asthma Associates, Mission Viejo, California, USA

Publication date: 01 July 2015

This article was made available online on 29 June 2015 as a Fast Track article with title: "Intranasal spray medications for maintenance therapy of allergic rhinitis".

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