Background: To our knowledge, there are no published studies that evaluated the efficacy of azelastine hydrochloride nasal spray in combination with an intranasal corticosteroid, although anecdotal reports of the use of these agents in combination are common.
Objective: To determine if greater efficacy could be achieved with the intranasal antihistamine azelastine and the intranasal corticosteroid fluticasone propionate used concurrently compared with the efficacy of each agent alone.
Methods: This randomized, 2-week, multicenter, double-blind trial was conducted during the Texas mountain cedar season. After a 5-day placebo lead-in period, 151 patients with moderate to severe nasal symptoms were randomized to treatment with the following: (1) azelastine nasal spray, 2 sprays per nostril twice daily; (2) fluticasone nasal spray, 2 sprays per nostril once daily; or (3) azelastine nasal spray, 2 sprays per nostril twice daily, plus fluticasone nasal spray, 2 sprays per nostril once daily. The primary efficacy variable was the change from baseline in the total nasal symptom score (TNSS), consisting of sneezing, itchy nose, runny nose, and nasal congestion.
Results: All 3 groups had statistically significant (P < .001) improvements from their baseline TNSS after 2 weeks of treatment. The TNSS improved 27.1% with fluticasone nasal spray, 24.8% with azelastine nasal spray, and 37.9% with the 2 agents in combination (P < .05 vs either agent alone). All 3 treatments were well tolerated.
Conclusions: The significant improvement in the TNSS with combination therapy relative to the individual agents alone is in contrast to previously published studies that found no advantage with an oral antihistamine and an intranasal corticosteroid in combination. Azelastine nasal spray and fluticasone nasal spray in combination may provide a substantial therapeutic benefit for patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis compared with therapy with either agent alone.