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Original Article


Clinical Use of Oral Antihistamines and Intranasal Corticosteroids in Patients With Allergic Rhinitis


A Navarro,1 A Valero,2 MJ Rosales,3 J Mullol4

1UGC Intercentros Valme-Rocío Alergología, Hospital El Tomillar, Sevilla, Spain
2Unidad Alergia, Servicio de Neumología y Alergia, Hospital Clínic, CIBERES, Barcelona, Spain
3Departamento Médico, MSD, Madrid, Spain
4Unitat de Rinología i Clínica de l’Olfacte, Servicio de ORL, Hospital Clínic, IDIBAPS, CIBERES, Barcelona, Spain

J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol 2011; Vol. 21(5): 363-369



Background: Second-generation oral antihistamines (AH) and intranasal corticosteroids (ICS) are the most widely used drugs for allergic rhinitis (AR).

Objective: To obtain information on the preferences for and applications of these drugs under conditions of routine clinical practice.

Methods: We performed a multicenter multidisciplinary observational study. Participating physicians completed a questionnaire with information on preferences for and application of drugs for AR, patient characteristics, and physician/patient satisfaction with the treatment provided (visual analog scale).

Results: A total of 1008 physicians participated in the study (primary care physicians, 53%; ear, nose, and throat specialists, 28%; allergologists, 19%). Treatment preferences in AR were AH combined with ICS (7.68), AH (7.25), and ICS (6.94). AH and ICS were used continuously by 58% and 71% of patients, respectively. Physicians reported having a good knowledge of the Allergic Rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma guidelines (93%), and 90% claimed to follow the guidelines. A total of 4040 patients were recruited (52% females, mean [SD] age 34 [14] years). The findings for AR were as follows: mean (SD)
duration, 9 (8) years; persistent AR, 52%; mild AR, 72%; moderate AR, 7%; and severe AR, 1%. Patients considered the disorder to be well controlled/almost controlled (79%). As for treatment, 77% followed the regimen recommended by the physician. Oral treatment (41%) and intranasal treatment (22%) were preferred, while 35% showed no preference for any given administration route. The treatments prescribed were AH combined with ICS (66%), AH (20%), ICS (11%), other antihistamines (4%), and other drugs (6%). Combination treatment was the preferred therapy, regardless of the type of rhinitis.

Conclusions: Physicians prefer and more often use combination treatment with oral AH and ICS, regardless of the frequency and intensity of AR.

Key words: Oral antihistamines. Intranasal corticosteroids. Allergic rhinitis. Treatment