Currently available oral second-generation antihistamines do not provide adequate symptom relief for many allergy patients.
To determine the ability of azelastine nasal spray to improve rhinitis symptoms in patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis who remained symptomatic after treatment with fexofenadine.
This was a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 2-week study in patients with moderate-to-severe seasonal allergic rhinitis. The study began with a 1-week, open-label lead-in period, during which patients received fexofenadine, 60 mg twice daily. Patients who improved less than 25% to 33% with fexofenadine were randomized to treatment with (1) azelastine nasal spray, 2 sprays per nostril twice daily; (2) azelastine nasal spray, 2 sprays per nostril twice daily, plus fexofenadine, 60 mg twice daily; or (3) placebo (saline) nasal spray and placebo capsules twice daily. The primary efficacy variable was the change from baseline to day 14 in the total nasal symptom score (TNSS), consisting of runny nose, sneezing, itchy nose, and nasal congestion symptom scores.
A total of 334 patients who remained symptomatic after treatment with fexofenadine were included in the efficacy analysis. After 2 weeks of treatment, azelastine nasal spray (P = .007) and azelastine nasal spray plus fexofenadine (P = .003) significantly improved the TNSS compared with placebo. Azelastine nasal spray monotherapy was as effective as the combination of azelastine nasal spray plus fexofenadine as measured by the TNSS and individual symptoms of the TNSS.
Azelastine nasal spray is effective monotherapy for patients who remain symptomatic after treatment with fexofenadine and should be considered in the initial management of patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis.