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.