Background: Symptoms of allergic rhinitis (AR), particularly nasal congestion, can impair quality-of-life (QoL). However, only a modest correlation exists between these symptoms and Rhinoconjunctivitis Quality of Life Questionnaire (RQLQ) scores, suggesting that both be evaluated for a complete assessment of health.
Methods: Subjects with a ≥2-year history of moderate-to-severe AR to dust mite or cat dander were randomized to desloratadine 5 mg/day (n = 293) or placebo/day (n = 291) for 28 days. Primary endpoint was change from baseline in a.m./p.m. nasal congestion score. Secondary outcomes included change from baseline in total nasal symptom score, individual symptom scores and RQLQ scores (completed on days 1, 7, and 28).
Results: The Allergic Rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma criteria for persistent allergic rhinitis (PER) were fulfilled by 99% of subjects in the placebo arm. Between-treatment difference in a.m./p.m. nasal congestion score, observed from day 8 onward, significantly favored desloratadine (P = 0.0003). Desloratadine significantly improved a.m./p.m. nasal congestion and RQLQ scores after 1 week and at treatment end (P < 0.05). Improvements in 5 of 7 RQLQ domain scores exceeded the minimal important difference. On days 7 and 28, desloratadine was also significantly superior to placebo in mean change from baseline in a.m./p.m. total nasal symptom score and rhinorrhea score (both P ≤ 0.01). Symptomatic benefit was primarily driven by improvement in nasal congestion and rhinorrhea.
Conclusions: Desloratadine 5 mg/day significantly improved symptoms associated with PER, including nasal congestion, and provided significant improvement in QoL after 1 week of treatment.