Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess whether inert cellulose powder would reduce the response to nasal challenge with house dust mite antigens. The study aimed to investigate the efficacy of inert cellulose powder applied to the nose for the control of persistent allergic rhinitis in adults due to house dust mite allergy. The powder has been registered as a medical device since 1994 and is available in many countries as a remedy for hay fever. Anecdotal evidence reported that it reduced symptoms of persistent rhinitis but no scientific evidence exists for this.
Research design and methods: A double blind, placebo-controlled cross over trial was conducted on 15 adult persistent rhinitis sufferers (diagnosed positive to Der p1 and/or Der f1 by SPT) and who had symptoms over the previous 2 years. The placebo was lactose powder. Challenge was by measured dose of homogenised allergenic dust. The study took place in the spring of 2006 before the main pollen seasons.
Main outcome measures: The primary outcome measures were observed severity scores for 3 symptom categories and the amount of ECP in nasal secretions. The secondary outcome measures were symptom scores by subject report (nasal blockage, itching of nose, throat and eyes), nasal peak inspiratory (PIFn) and expiratory flow (PEFn).
Results: The results show significant differences for sneezing, itchy nose, runny nose and ECPs in nasal secretions. Some results are also significantly different between placebo and active for PIFn and for PEFn (all at p = 0.05). There were no adverse reactions.
Conclusions: The inert cellulose powder can have significant effects in reducing some symptoms of persistent rhinitis due to house dust mite allergy.