Comparison of cetirizine, ebastine and loratadine in the treatment of immediate mosquito-bite allergy

Allergy. 2002 Jun;57(6):534-7. doi: 10.1034/j.1398-9995.2002.13201.x.


Background: People frequently experience whealing and delayed papules from mosquito bites. Whealing is mediated by antisaliva immunoglobulin (Ig)E antibodies and histamine. Cetirizine, ebastine and loratadine have earlier shown effects on mosquito-bite reactions but no comparative studies exist.

Methods: A double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study was performed with cetirizine 10 mg, ebastine 10 mg and loratadine 10 mg in 29 mosquito-bite-sensitive adults exposed to Aedes aegypti mosquito-bites. The size of the bite lesion and the intensity of pruritus (visual analog scale) were measured at 15 min and 2, 6 and 24 h.

Results: Cetirizine and ebastine, but not loratadine, decreased significantly the size of whealing (P < 0.01) and accompanying pruritus (P < 0.001) compared to placebo. Cetirizine was most effective on pruritus but caused more often sedation than ebastine or loratadine. The delayed bite symptoms remained too faint for any statistical comparison.

Conclusion: This comparative study in mosquito-bite-sensitive adults shows that cetirizine and ebastine decrease significantly whealing and accompanying pruritus, and that cetirizine seems to be the most effective against pruritus.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Butyrophenones / therapeutic use*
  • Cetirizine / therapeutic use*
  • Conscious Sedation
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Culicidae*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Finland
  • Histamine H1 Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / drug therapy*
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / etiology*
  • Insect Bites and Stings / complications*
  • Insect Bites and Stings / drug therapy*
  • Loratadine / therapeutic use*
  • Middle Aged
  • Piperidines / therapeutic use*
  • Pruritus / drug therapy
  • Pruritus / etiology
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Butyrophenones
  • Histamine H1 Antagonists
  • Piperidines
  • Loratadine
  • ebastine
  • Cetirizine