Double-blind, placebo-controlled study comparing the efficacy and safety of fexofenadine hydrochloride (120 and 180 mg once daily) and cetirizine in seasonal allergic rhinitis

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1999 Nov;104(5):927-33. doi: 10.1016/s0091-6749(99)70070-9.


Background: Fexofenadine hydrochloride (HCl) is a new H(1) antihistamine used twice daily in some countries.

Objective: A multicenter, double-blind, parallel-group, placebo-controlled trial compared the efficacy and safety of fexofenadine HCl (120 and 180 mg administered once daily) and cetirizine (10 mg once daily) in the treatment of seasonal allergic rhinitis.

Methods: After a 3- to 5-day run-in period, patients meeting entrance criteria were randomized to receive placebo, fexofenadine HCl 120 mg once daily, fexofenadine HCl 180 mg once daily, or cetirizine 10 mg once daily (active control) for 2 weeks. Eight hundred twenty-one patients comprised the intention-to-treat population and 722 patients completed the study. Symptom assessments were conducted 12 hours after the dose for the previous 12 hours and again at 24 hours after the dose for the previous 12 hours. In addition, assessment was made immediately before dosing in the morning for the previous 30 minutes. Total symptom score was calculated as the sum of scores for the 4 individual symptoms: (1) sneezing, (2) rhinorrhea, (3) itchy nose, palate, or throat, and (4) itchy, watery, or red eyes; the nasal congestion score was also recorded.

Results: Both doses of fexofenadine HCl were superior to placebo in reducing the total symptom score. Efficacy was maintained for the entire dosing interval (ie, for 24 hours). There were no differences in efficacy between the 2 doses of fexofenadine HCl or between either dose of fexofenadine HCl and cetirizine. There was no major side effect, but the combined incidence of drowsiness or fatigue was greater with ce-tirizine (9%) than with placebo (4%) (P =.07) or fexofenadine (4%) (P =.02).

Conclusions: Once-daily fexofenadine is thus a valuable addition to the nonsedating group of H(1) receptor antagonists currently available for the treatment of seasonal allergic rhinitis.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Allergic Agents / adverse effects
  • Anti-Allergic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cetirizine / adverse effects
  • Cetirizine / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Histamine H1 Antagonists / adverse effects
  • Histamine H1 Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal / drug therapy*
  • Terfenadine / adverse effects
  • Terfenadine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Terfenadine / therapeutic use
  • Time Factors


  • Anti-Allergic Agents
  • Histamine H1 Antagonists
  • Terfenadine
  • fexofenadine
  • Cetirizine