Desloratadine is a new, selective, H(1)-receptor antagonist that also has anti-inflammatory activity. In vitro studies have shown that desloratadine inhibits the release or generation of multiple inflammatory mediators, including IL-4, IL-6, IL-8, IL-13, PGD(2), leukotriene C(4), tryptase, histamine, and the TNF-alpha-induced chemokine RANTES. Desloratadine also inhibits the induction of cell adhesion molecules, plateletactivating factor-induced eosinophil chemotaxis, TNF-alpha-induced eosinophil adhesion, and spontaneous and phorbol myristate acetate-induced superoxide generation in vitro. In animals desloratadine had no effect on the central nervous, cardiovascular, renal, or gastrointestinal systems. Desloratadine is rapidly absorbed, has dose-proportional pharmacokinetics, and has a half-life of 27 hours. The absorption of desloratadine is not affected by food, and the metabolism and elimination are not significantly affected by the subject's age, race, or sex. There are no clinically relevant interactions between desloratadine and erythromycin, ketoconazole, or grapefruit juice. Desloratadine is not a significant substrate of the P-glycoprotein transport system. Once daily administration of desloratadine rapidly reduces the nasal and nonnasal symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis, including congestion. In patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis and concomitant asthma, desloratadine treatment was also associated with significant reductions in total asthma symptom score and use of inhaled beta(2)-agonists. Use of desloratadine in patients with chronic idiopathic urticaria was associated with significant reductions in pruritus, number of hives, size of the largest hive, and interference with sleep and daily activities. Clinical experience in over 2300 patients has shown that the adverse event profile of desloratadine is similar to that of placebo; desloratadine has no clinically relevant effects on electrocardiographic parameters, does not impair wakefulness or psychomotor performance, and does not exacerbate the psychomotor impairment associated with alcohol use.