Background: Fluticasone propionate aqueous nasal spray, a new topical corticosteroid, has been proved to be an effective treatment for seasonal allergic rhinitis.
Objectives: We studied the effect of fluticasone propionate on nasal symptoms, circulating eosinophils, and nasal inflammation in patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis after high-load pollen exposure. Moreover, we examined its efficacy in preventing the increase in bronchial responsiveness to methacholine (PD20) during the pollen season.
Methods: We conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study in patients who had a history of allergic rhinitis in response to pollens of grass and Parietaria species and were living in northern Italy. After a run-in period of 2 weeks, 24 patients were treated with fluticasone propionate (200 micrograms, once daily), and 26 patients received matched placebo for 6 weeks, starting from the beginning of the pollen season. Assessment of efficacy was based on scores of daily nasal symptoms. Nasal lavage was performed at the end of the season, and differential cell count was expressed as percent of total cells. PD20 methacholine was measured at the beginning and end of the season and after the season had ended.
Results: Fluticasone propionate significantly reduced nasal obstruction, itching, and rhinorrhea. Eosinophils in blood (p < 0.01) and nasal lavage (p < 0.001) were also reduced. Moreover, fluticasone significantly attenuated the decrease in mean PD20 methacholine (from 1.95 to 0.89 mg) compared with placebo (from 1.38 to 0.37 mg: p < 0.01). After the season, no difference in PD20 methacholine was found between treatment groups.
Conclusions: The results of this study indicate that fluticasone propionate is effective in decreasing nasal symptoms and eosinophil inflammation in patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis after high-load pollen exposure. Our results also demonstrate that treatment with fluticasone propionate partially prevents the increase in bronchial responsiveness provoked by the inhalation of seasonal pollens in allergic rhinitis.