A placebo controlled study comparing the efficacy of intranasal azelastine and beclomethasone in the treatment of seasonal allergic rhinitis
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- Newson-Smith, G., Powell, M., Baehre, M. et al. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol (1997) 254: 236. doi:10.1007/BF00874095
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This study compared a new intranasal anti-allergic drug, azelastine (0.56 mg bid) with intranasal beclomethasone (0.2 mg bid) and placebo in the treatment of symptoms associated with seasonal rhinitis. After administering placebo for 3–5 days as a “run-in” period, eligible patients were randomized to treatment for 2 weeks: 83 patients received azelastine, 83 beclomethasone and 77 placebo. Each of six symptoms was assessed daily using a four-point scale. Total symptom scores showed that azelastine-treated patients experienced a more rapid onset of overall symptom relief than beclomethasone-treated patients. This was significant on day 1 (P < 0.003) and continued until day 5. By the end of the 2-week study period, the beclomethasone-treated group showed greater improvement than both the azelastine and placebo groups (P = 0.002 andP = 0.0001, respectively). In contrast, visual analogue scales at this time showed no significant differences between the azelastine and beclomethasone treatment groups, with both groups demonstrating significant reductions in total symptom scores compared to placebo (P = 0.0004 andP = 0.0001, respectively). Differing sensitivities were found in the four-point scales reported by the patients and the investigators and the patients' visual analogue scales in the measurement of symptom severity. However, all three techniques confirmed that both azelastine nasal spray and beclomethasone nasal spray were effective treatments for seasonal rhinitis. While a greater improvement in overall symptoms was found for the beclamethasone-treated patients compared to azelastine-treated patients, diary card data confirmed the more immediate onset of symptom relief provided by azelastine. No serious adverse events were found in the present study and included no complaints of drowsiness.