Cetirizine treatment of rhinitis in children with pollen allergy: evidence of its antiallergic activity


Professor G. W. Canonica, Allergy and Clinical Immunology Service, Department of Internal Medicine, DI.M.l., Genoa University, Genoa, Italy.


Background Cetirizine is an antihistamine, largely used in the treatment of allergic rhinoconjunctivitis, which also exerts anti-allergic activity.

Objectives To evaluate cetirizine as treatment for children with rhinitis due to pollen allergy, and to evaluate its anti-allergic activity in such a clinical condition.

Methods The study was designed as parallel groups, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized. Twenty allergic children were enroled and subdivided in two groups, receiving a 4 week treatment during the pollen season. The following parameters were monitored: clinical symptoms evaluated by the allergist before and after treatment and by the patients through a daily diary card, inflammatory cells count, expression of ICAM-1 on nasal epithelial cells, inflammatory mediator levels in nasal Iavage and peripheral blood before and after treatment, and pollen counts.

Results This study shows that cetirizine treatment is able to reduce: clinical symptoms (P < 0.01), inflammatory cell infiltrate (P < 0.03), ICAM-1 expression on epithelial cells (P < 0.05), and soluble ICAM-1 (P < 0.05) and ECP (P < 0.05) in nasal lavage.

Conclusion Cetirizine is able to clinically improve nasal symptoms due to pollen allergy and to reduce allergic inflammation, which is related to allergen exposure.