Clinical comparison of systemic methylprednisolone acetate versus topical budesonide in patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis


Dr. W. J. Pichler, Inselspital Bern, Institut für klinisehe Immunologie, 3010 Bern, Switzerland


Thirty patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis entered a double blind study comparing budesonide (nasal spray, 400 μg/d) and i.m. injection of 80 mg methylprednisolone acetate. Symptoms were assessed over a “run in” period of 3-7 days followed by a treatment period of 3 weeks. Pollen counts were evaluated daily. Both the systemic and topical corticosteroid treatment resulted in a significant improvement of nasal and ocular symptoms and were accompanied by reduced antihistamine intake. A comparison of the two treatments in relation to the pollen count yielded statistically significantly fewer nasal symptoms, such as itching, secretion, and sneezing in the budesonide-treated group. Nasal blockage and ocular symptoms remained unchanged, but the use of eyedrops was significantly reduced in the methylprednisolone-treated group. Side effects of both treatments were mild and the incidence negligible. Methylprednisolone-treated patients had a significantly lower cortisol value after 7 days but still had a normal response to ACTH-stimulation. We conclude that the acute symptoms of allergic rhinitis are at least as well ameliorated by regular topical application of budesonide as by a single injection of methylprednisolone acetate. The accompanying allergic conjunctivitis may require additional treatment.