• bilastine;
  • desloratadine;
  • H1-antihistamine;
  • quality of life;
  • seasonal allergic rhinitis;
  • total symptom score

Background:  Bilastine is a novel, nonsedating H1-antihistamine developed for symptomatic treatment of Allergic Rhinitis and Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria. The objective of this study was to compare the efficacy and safety of bilastine 20 mg vs placebo and desloratadine 5 mg in subjects with seasonal allergic rhinitis (SAR).

Methods:  This randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group multicentre study evaluated the effect of 2 weeks’ treatment with bilastine 20 mg, desloratadine 5 mg or matched placebo once daily, in 12–70 years old symptomatic SAR patients. All subjects assessed the severity of nasal (obstruction, rhinorrhoea, itching, and sneezing) and nonnasal (ocular itching, tearing, ocular redness, itching of ears and/or palate) symptoms on a predetermined scale to provide a total symptom score (TSS), composed of nasal and nonnasal symptom scores (NSS and NNSS, respectively). The primary efficacy measure was the area under the curve (AUC) for the TSS over the entire treatment period.

Results:  Bilastine 20 mg significantly reduced the AUC of TSS to a greater degree from baseline compared to placebo (98.4 with bilastine vs 118.4 with placebo; P < 0.001), but not compared to desloratadine 5 mg (100.5). Bilastine 20 mg was not different from desloratadine 5 mg but significantly more effective than placebo in improving the NSS, NNSS, and rhinitis-associated discomfort scores (P < 0.05), and rhinoconjunctivitis quality of life questionnaire total (P < 0.005) and four out of seven individual domain (P < 0.05) scores. The incidence of treatment emergent adverse events was similar for bilastine (20.6%), desloratadine (19.8%), and placebo (18.8%).

Conclusion:  Bilastine 20 mg once daily was efficacious, safe and not different from desloratadine 5 mg once daily in the treatment of SAR symptoms.