Bukstein D. A., Biondi R. M., Blumenthal M. M., Dockhorn R. J., Filley W I!, Fink J., Goldstein S., Graft D. E, Hirsch S. R., Joos T. H., Melamed J., Rowe M. S., Townley R. G. Tilarin in combination with astemizole.
This multicentre double-blind, placebo controlled study had a practical objective, based on the expectation that many patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis will be prescribed oral antihistamine monotherapy by their primary care physician, whereas allergy specialists are more likely to prescribe combination therapy including antiinflammatories. The specific question was, ‘Will the addition of nedocromil sodium 1% nasal spray to astemizole tablets improve control of symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis induced by ragweed pollen, as compared to astemizole therapy alone?’. Following a one-week baseline, planned to coincide with the start of the local ragweed pollen season, patients (aged 12–64) were randomly assigned to four weeks' double-blind test treatment with either nedocromil sodium 1% nasal spray four times daily (QID)+astemizole (n=146) or placebo nasal spray+astemizole (n=148) or double-dummy (nasal spray+capsules) placebo (n=71). Patient diary cards were kept throughout the five weeks, and clinic visits were made before and after baseline and after one and four weeks' treatment. During the 10-day peak pollen period, the diary card rhinitis symptom summary score (0–1 severity scale) was significantly reduced in patients receiving either astemizole alone (p < 0.001) or the combination therapy (p<0.001) as compared with placebo. Direct comparison of the active treatments further showed that symptoms were signficantly less severe (p < 0.01) with the combined therapy than with astemizole alone, and this despite significantly greater reliance on permitted rescue medications (p < 0.05 for pseudoephedrine usage) in the astemizole group. Clinical assessments of rhinitis made during the peak pollen visit, after the first week of test treatment, were also significantly (p < 0.05-p < 0.01) in favour of combined therapy with nedocromil sodium 1% nasal spray+astemizole rather than astemizole alone, and at the same time this preference was confirmed by physician (p=0.011) and patient (p=0.003) opinions of symptom control. In conclusion, this antiinflammatory+ antihistamine treatment proved superior to antihistamine alone for effective management of allergic rhinitis. The combined therapy worked quickly and was well-tolerated, with no serious adverse events or untoward effects on blood or urine variables.