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MEDA/And in first place, it's azelastine nasal spray: Banish those hay fever symptoms and reclaim spring
And in first place, it's azelastine nasal spray! / Banish those hay fever symptoms and reclaim spring
Hay fever season is here again. Allergy sufferers get those hankies at the ready and let battle commence! For those unlucky people allergic to the microscopic wind-borne pollen particle, enjoyment of the warm season is blighted by the annoying, exasperating and all too familiar itchy, stuffy, runny and watery symptoms of hay fever. At this time of year, pharmacy shelves are packed full of all sorts of anti-hayfever medications, so choosing the right medication for you may seem like a daunting task. The article by Sardana and colleagues may help you make the right decision. They compared the efficacy of three different classes of medication in reducing the signs and symptoms of rhinitis in adults. The therapies compared were budesonide (an intranasal corticosteroid), montelukast (a leukotriene receptor antagonist) and azelastine (an intranasal anti-histamine). Symptom severity was assessed using a 4-point scale.
The results of the study confirmed that not all anti-rhinitis medications are equal. Intranasal budesonide, montelukast and azelastine nasal spray differ not only in how they work, but also in how well they work. Azelastine was significantly better than montelukast and budesonide at reducing the symptom of runny nose, and also showed an improvement overall versus either agent. This is an exciting observation since montelukast is a well-known anti-secretory agent (i.e. inhibits runny nose) and budesonide has potent anti-inflammatory properties. Conversely, the symptom of itching/watery eyes appeared to respond better (although not significantly so) to montelukast. However, it is worth noting that azelastine has also been formulated as eye drops which take only 3 minutes to relieve red and itchy eyes. The authors agreed that "..it is apparent that azelastine has the greatest overall benefit in alleviating symptoms associated with allergic rhinitis". You can get extensive and up to date information on hayfever and azelastine at http://www.azelastine.info/. On this website you can also subscribe to a free email newsletter (AzelastinENews) which contains many useful tips for the everyday reality of living with allergies, as well as background information, a question and answer section and the most recent hay fever innovations.
A topical treatment like azelastine has many advantages over a medication taken in tablet form, such as montelukast. Firstly, azelastine is applied directly to the site of inflammation (i.e. the noses and eyes) where it can start working straight away. Secondly, direct application means that higher drug concentrations can be achieved compared to drugs taken in tablet form. Finally, the risk of interaction with other medications taken at the same time is reduced, as is the potential for causing side effects. Azelastine nasal spray also has several advantages over intranasal corticosteroids such as a faster onset of action (just 15 minutes) and flexibility of both dose (i.e. one or two sprays per nostril twice daily) and dosage (i.e. fixed dose or as-need). The as-needed option means that patients need only take azelastine when their symptoms arise, whilst azelastine's fast onset and long duration of action (12 hours) ensure immediate and long-lasting symptom relief. Compare that to intranasal corticosteroids which need to be applied 1-4 weeks prior to the expected start of the rhinitis season in order to achieve optimal efficacy. Hardly a patient-friendly, flexible approach!
With azelastine patients can effectively customise their treatment to suit their own individual needs. Its efficacy, flexibility and excellent safety profile means that patients can enjoy all that spring has to offer once again, whichever way the wind is blowing and whatever pollen it may be carrying.
 Sardana N, et al. Allergy Asthma Proc 2010;31(1):5-9.
 Friedlaender MH, et al. Opthalmology 2000;107;2152-2157.
 Patel P, et al. Am J Rhinol 2007;21:499-503.
* Allergodil is a trademark of MEDA Pharma GmbH & Co KG
** Allergic Rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma
MEDA Pharma GmbH & Co. KG
MEDA AB (publ) is a leading international specialty pharma company. Meda's products are sold in 120 countries worldwide and the company is represented by its own organizations in more than 40 countries. The Meda share is listed under Large Cap on the Nasdaq OMX Nordic Stock Exchange in Stockholm. To find out more, visit www.meda.se.
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