Although intranasal corticosteroids (INSs) are the first-line treatment for seasonal allergic rhinitis (SAR), some patients do not respond adequately, reflecting biological heterogeneity or confounding conditions. The objective of this study was to determine what recruitment factors identify SAR subjects who will be unresponsive to mometasone furoate (MF). We performed a 2-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel study on 40 subjects with SAR. Each subject underwent a decongestant test using oxymetazoline. Baseline nasal symptoms, nasal peak inspiratory flow (NPIF) and Rhinoconjunctivitis Quality of Life Questionnaire (RQLQ) scores were recorded. Next, subjects were randomized to either 200 μg of MF or placebo. Symptom diaries and NPIF measurements were completed twice daily. After 2 weeks, subjects repeated the RQLQ and the global assessment of symptoms. There was a significant reduction in symptoms in the MF group compared with placebo (p ≤ 0.05) in patients with baseline total symptom scores of ≥6. Multivariate analysis showed that treatment (MF versus placebo; p = 0.049) and amount of decongestion (percent change in NPIF after oxymetazoline; p = 0.008) predicted the improvement in total nasal symptoms. In clinical trials, SAR subjects must report multiple symptoms to be responsive to treatment with INSs. Our results also support the use of the decongestant test for choice of appropriate study volunteers, both to ensure participation of potentially responsive subjects and to eliminate those with confounding issues.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00618332.