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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 19

of 'Pharmacotherapy of allergic rhinitis'

Treatment of allergic rhinitis: an evidence-based evaluation of nasal corticosteroids versus nonsedating antihistamines.
Stempel DA, Thomas M
Am J Manag Care. 1998;4(1):89.
Allergic rhinitis is a high-cost, high-prevalence disease. In the 12 months ending March 31, 1997 $3.1 billion was spent in the United States for medications to manage this illness. Allergic rhinitis affects quality of life and interferes with work productivity. Nonsedating antihistamines are the most common and most expensive therapy for this condition. This study reviewed 13 randomized studies in which blinded investigators compared management of allergic rhinitis by means of intranasal steroids to management by means of nonsedating antihistamine. Evidence tables demonstrated that in all studies in which total nasal symptoms and nasal obstruction were recorded, the nasal steroid was statistically superior to the nonsedating antihistamine. For nasal blockage the nonsedating antihistamines did not perform better than placebo. For all other nasal symptoms the intranasal steroid was statistically superior in most reports and equal or numerically better in the remaining papers. When these data are linked to those from cost analysis and quality-of-life studies, the evidence strongly suggests that nasal steroids should be first-line therapy for allergic rhinitis. In four reports on the combination of a nonsedating antihistamine compared to a nasal steroid alone, there was no significant difference between these two treatments. Like asthma, allergic rhinitis is an inflammatory disease and should be managed with anti-inflammatory medication. Makingsuch a change in the management of allergic rhinitis should increase efficacy and decrease costs.
Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA 98004, USA.