Background: Few clinical trials have directly compared the efficacy of antihistamines with topical nasal corticosteroids.
Objective: The study was performed to compare the efficacy and safety of triamcinolone acetonide nasal spray at a dose of 110 micro g in each nostril once daily with 10 mg of oral astemizole once daily for the treatment of seasonal allergic rhinitis.
Methods: A multicenter, double-blind, parallel-group study was conducted in 239 patients who were randomized to receive either triamcinolone acetonide or astemizole. A 5-day, drug-free, lead-in period was followed by 4 weeks of double-blind treatment. One hundred four patients treated with triamcinolone acetonide and 105 patients treated with astemizole could be evaluated.
Results: Overall, triamcinolone acetonide was more effective than astemizole in reducing total nasal symptoms, nasal stuffiness, nasal itching, and sneezing (p </= 0.01). Triamcinolone acetonide was superior to astemizole at weeks 1, 2, and 3 in reduction of the total nasal symptom score (p </= 0.0401) and in reduction of nasal stuffiness (p </= 0.05). Improvements in individual nasal symptoms (itching, postnasal drip, runny nose, and sneezing) were greater for triamcinolone acetonide at week 2 (p </= 0.01). Ocular symptoms improved from baseline in both groups. When pollen counts were correlated to mean nasal rhinitis scores, the triamcinolone acetonide group showed continued improvement from week 1 to week 2 in nasal symptoms when pollen counts were at their highest. During the same period, patients treated with astemizole failed to show improvement from week 1 to week 2. This study demonstrated that once daily administration of triamcinolone acetonide was more effective than astemizole for controlling nasal symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis, especially during the peak pollination period.