Background: Bilastine is a safe and effective commonly prescribed non-sedating H1-antihistamine approved for symptomatic treatment in patients with allergic disorders such as rhinoconjunctivitis and urticaria. It was evaluated in many patients throughout the clinical development required for its approval, but clinical trials generally exclude many patients who will benefit in everyday clinical practice (especially those with coexisting diseases and/or being treated with concomitant drugs). Following its introduction into clinical practice, the Medical Information Specialists at Faes Farma have received many practical queries regarding the optimal use of bilastine in different circumstances.
Data sources and methods: Queries received by the Medical Information Department and the responses provided to senders of these queries.
Results: The most frequent questions received by the Medical Information Department included the potential for drug-drug interactions with bilastine and commonly used agents such as anticoagulants (including the novel oral anticoagulants), antiretrovirals, antituberculosis regimens, corticosteroids, digoxin, oral contraceptives, and proton pump inhibitors. Most of these medicines are not usually allowed in clinical trials, and so advice needs to be based upon the pharmacological profiles of the drugs involved and expert opinion. The pharmacokinetic profile of bilastine appears favourable since it undergoes negligible metabolism and is almost exclusively eliminated via renal excretion, and it neither induces nor inhibits the activity of several isoenzymes from the CYP 450 system. Consequently, bilastine does not interact with cytochrome metabolic pathways. Other queries involved specific patient groups such as subjects with renal impairment, women who are breastfeeding or who are trying to become pregnant, and patients with other concomitant diseases. Interestingly, several questions related to topics that are well covered in the Summary of Product Characteristics (SmPC), which suggests that this resource is not being well used.
Conclusions: Overall, this analysis highlights gaps in our knowledge regarding the optimal use of bilastine. Expert opinion based upon an understanding of the science can help in the decision-making, but more research is needed to provide evidence-based answers in certain circumstances.
Keywords: antihistamines; bilastine; drug information; drug interactions; medical information services; pregnancy; renal disease.