Background: Intranasal corticosteroids are safe and effective for treating allergic rhinitis in adults. Since children may receive more systemic corticosteroid on a dose-per-weight basis than adults, the safety of corticosteroid therapy in pediatric patients is an important issue.
Objective: To determine the effects of treatment with budesonide aqueous nasal spray using the recommended once-daily dose for adults and children 6 years and older on hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis function in pediatric patients with allergic rhinitis.
Methods: In a 6-week, multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 78 patients aged 2 to 5 years with allergic rhinitis were treated with budesonide aqueous nasal spray (64 microg/d) or placebo. Mean change in morning plasma cortisol levels from baseline to study end 0, 30, and 60 minutes after low-dose (10-microg) cosyntropin stimulation and mean change in the difference from 0 to 30 minutes and from 0 to 60 minutes after cosyntropin stimulation were used to evaluate HPA axis function.
Results: Mean change from baseline to study end in plasma cortisol levels 0, 30, and 60 minutes after cosyntropin stimulation and the difference from 0 to 30 minutes and from 0 to 60 minutes were not significantly different between the treatment and placebo groups (P > .05 for all). At the end of the study, 3 budesonide aqueous nasal spray and 6 placebo patients were classified as having subnormal HPA axis function. The safety and tolerability profile of budesonide aqueous nasal spray was comparable to that of placebo.
Conclusions: Administration of budesonide aqueous nasal spray for 6 weeks was well tolerated and safe and had no measurable suppressive effects on HPA axis function in patients aged 2 to 5 years with allergic rhinitis.