Background: Montelukast sodium is approved as a treatment for intermittent and persistent allergic rhinitis (AR), but it has not been evaluated as combined therapy with antihistamines for persistent AR.
Objective: To investigate the effects of 6 weeks of treatment of persistent AR with desloratadine, levocetirizine, or montelukast alone or in combination.
Methods: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study was performed. Patients were assigned to 2 arms: 20 received montelukast, 10 mg/d, desloratadine, 5 mg/d, or both or placebo and 20 received montelukast, levocetirizine, or both, 5 mg/d, or placebo. The treatment periods were separated by 2-week washout periods. Symptom scoring, skin prick tests, spirometry, rhinometry, and nasal lavage were performed the day before and the last days of the treatment periods. Eosinophil cationic protein levels were evaluated by means of nasal lavage.
Results: The mean +/- SD total baseline nasal symptom score was 7.7 +/- 0.49 before treatment, 3.74 +/- 0.54 after desloratadine use, 3.6 +/- 0.48 after montelukast use, and 3.04 +/- 0.4 after montelukast-desloratadine use. The mean +/- SD baseline nasal symptom score was 7.95 +/- 0.68 before treatment, 3.02 +/- 0.64 after levocetirizine use, 3.44 +/- 0.55 after montelukast use, and 2.14 +/- 0.39 after montelukast-levocetirizine use. The greatest improvement in nasal symptoms occurred after combination treatment. Decreases in the level of eosinophil cationic protein were greater after the combined use of montelukast and antihistamine than after each agent given alone.
Conclusions: For persistent AR, the combination of montelukast and either desloratadine or levocetirizine is more effective than monotherapy with these agents.