Corticosteroids in the treatment of pediatric allergic rhinitis

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2001 Jul;108(1 Suppl):S59-64. doi: 10.1067/mai.2001.115568.


The goal of treatment in pediatric allergic rhinitis is to provide effective prevention of or relief from allergic rhinitis symptoms as safely and effectively as possible. Removing or avoiding allergens is always advised; however, pharmacotherapy is often necessity. Pharmacologic options include systemic decongestants, which are associated with irritability and insomnia, particularly in children. Antihistamines are widely used; however, first-generation antihistamines are known to cause dry mouth and sedation. Oral corticosteroids are very effective but can have unwanted systemic effects. Over the past decade, intranasal corticosteroids have been shown to be the most effective form of pharmacologic treatment for allergic rhinitis. Data support the use of intranasal corticosteroids as first-line therapy over oral antihistamines; nonetheless, some clinicians have been reluctant to prescribe these agents, particularly for children, because of concerns for systemic effects. Overall, the newer corticosteroids, including mometasone furoate (MF), beclomethasone dipropionate, and budesonide have an improved risk-benefit ratio compared with older cortico-steroids and are now considered the drug of choice for pediatric allergic rhinitis. A good deal of evidence exists that confirms the lack of systemic effects from intranasal cortico-steroids. However, reports of decreased bone growth in children receiving intranasal budesonide short-term and beclomethasone dipropionate long-term have heightened concerns that some of these drugs may have systemic effects. A new intranasal corticosteroid, MF nasal spray, has been studied in children 3 to 12 years of age and has been shown to be effective. Intranasal MF is available with once-daily dosing, which has the potential to decrease systemic side effects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Intranasal
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / adverse effects
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use*
  • Anti-Allergic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Growth Disorders / chemically induced
  • Humans
  • Mometasone Furoate
  • Pregnadienediols / therapeutic use
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Perennial / drug therapy*
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal / drug therapy*


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Anti-Allergic Agents
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Pregnadienediols
  • Mometasone Furoate