Oral anthistamines do play a role: ASMI

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The Australian Self Medication Industry is urging consumers with hayfever to discuss their symptoms with their doctor or pharmacist so that they receive the most appropriate treatment plan

This statement was in response to media reports suggesting there is no role for oral antihistamines in the management of seasonal hayfever.

The US’ Joint Task Force on Practice Parameters had formulated three guidelines regarding the treatment of seasonal allergic rhinitis, one of which was: “For initial treatment of people 12 years old or older, the Joint Task Force recommends treatment with an intranasal corticosteroid alone, rather than in combination with an oral antihistamine.

“The Joint Task Force did not find evidence proving a benefit of adding an oral antihistamine to an intranasal corticosteroid and recognized that oral antihistamines, mainly first-generation, may cause sedation and other adverse effects.”


ASMI points out that current Australian guidelines recommend intranasal corticosteroid sprays for use as a first-line treatment for persistent mild and moderate-to-severe seasonal and perennial allergic rhinitis. Long term use of more than six months should be under the guidance of a GP.

“Non-sedating oral antihistamine medicines can also be beneficial and may be used in combination with intranasal corticosteroid sprays when the symptoms such as of seasonal hayfever strike,” ASMI says in a statement.

“This combination therapy may especially benefit consumers whose symptoms are not well controlled with an intranasal corticosteroid sprays alone, those who suffer more itching and watering of the eyes, and those who are just commencing treatment, because the onset of the treatment effects of the combination is likely to be faster.

“Furthermore, the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) recommend either a non-sedating oral or intranasal antihistamine as the first line of treatment for intermittent mild AR or it can be used in combination with other treatment options.”

For children under the age of 12, non-sedating oral antihistamines are an established first-line treatment option for mild symptoms of hayfever, says ASMI, and continue to remain the mainstay in the treatment for allergic disorders.


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