Background: Comparative studies with topical corticosteroids and antihistamines for treatment of allergic rhinitis have not always demonstrated clear distinctions between the two on the basis of therapeutic efficacy.
Objective: This study was designed to compare the efficacy and tolerability of fluticasone propionate aqueous nasal spray with those of terfenadine in the treatment of seasonal allergic rhinitis.
Methods: Three hundred forty-eight patients with allergic rhinitis were given fluticasone propionate aqueous nasal spray (200 micrograms once daily), terfenadine tablets (60 mg twice daily), or placebo for 4 weeks in a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, double-dummy, parallel-group study.
Results: Clinician-rated total nasal symptom scores after 1, 2, 3, and 4 weeks of therapy and patient-rated total nasal symptom scores throughout treatment were significantly (p <0.05) lower in the fluticasone propionate group compared with the terfenadine group or the placebo group. Terfenadine was not statistically different from placebo on the basis of clinician-related nasal symptom scores, except for sneezing. Total nasal airflow, measured by rhinomanometry, significantly (p <0.05) improved in the fluticasone propionate group compared with the terfenadine group or the placebo group. More fluticasone propionate-treated patients compared with placebo-treated patients had reduced nasal mucosal eosinophil counts after 4 weeks of therapy (p <0.05). No serious or unusual drug-related adverse events were reported. Morning plasma cortisol concentrations after 4 weeks of therapy did not differ among groups.
Conclusion: Fluticasone propionate aqueous nasal spray is more effective than terfenadine tablets for treatment of seasonal allergic rhinitis.