Desloratadine (Clarinex, Neoclarityn, Aerius, Azomyr, Opulis, Allex), the principal metabolite of loratadine, is itself an orally active, nonsedating, peripheral histamine H(1)-receptor antagonist. It is indicated in the US and Europe for the treatment of seasonal allergic rhinitis (SAR), perennial allergic rhinitis (PAR) and chronic idiopathic urticaria (CIU). It has a rapid onset of effect, efficacy throughout a 24-hour dosage interval, and sustained efficacy in these allergic conditions, as demonstrated in placebo-controlled trials of up to 6 weeks' duration in adult and adolescent patients. At present, there are no published direct comparisons of desloratadine and other H(1)-antihistamines; however, the principal, potential clinical advantages of desloratadine over late-generation H(1)-antihistamines are the drug's decongestant activity, which has been corroborated in several studies of patients with allergic rhinitis, and its anti-inflammatory effects. Indeed, the decongestant activity of desloratadine did not differ from that of pseudoephedrine in a trial in patients with SAR, and in patients with SAR and coexisting asthma, desloratadine reduced asthma symptoms and beta(2)-agonist use, and improved forced expiratory flow in 1 second. However, these issues warrant further study. Desloratadine is generally well tolerated. The overall incidence of adverse events in adults, adolescents and children was not significantly different to that with placebo, and similar proportions of desloratadine or placebo recipients reported events such as pharyngitis, dry mouth, myalgia, somnolence, dysmenorrhoea or fatigue. Desloratadine does not cause sedation or prolong the corrected QT (QTc) interval, can be administered without regard to concurrent intake of food and grapefruit juice, and appears to have negligible potential for drug interactions mediated by several metabolic systems.
Conclusion: Although comparative studies with second-generation and other recently developed H(1)-antihistamines are needed to define the drug's clinical profile more clearly, desloratadine can be expected to claim a prominent place in the management of allergic disorders in general, and in the amelioration of specific symptoms of allergy (e.g. nasal congestion) in patients with such disorders.