December 9, 2022

Nasal antihistamine OK to treat allergy symptoms


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The over-the-counter medicine Astepro can now be used to treat allergy symptoms. Dobrila Vignjevic / Getty Images
  • The Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of Astepro, an over-the-counter nasal antihistamine, to treat allergy symptoms.
  • Experts say the approval gives people with allergies an easily accessible drug to help reduce symptoms such as a runny nose and sneezing.
  • They note that the nasal spray can cause drowsiness, and its effectiveness may wear off over time.

There is hopeful news for the millions of people in the United States experience allergy symptoms.

They can now get an antihistamine nasal spray for seasonal allergies in adults and children. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the over-the-counter use of Astepro (azelastine hydrochloride nasal spray, 0.15%) last week.

Dr Thérèse Michele, director of the over-the-counter drugs office at the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a Press release that approval provides people with an option for a safe and effective nasal antihistamine without the need for professional medical assistance.

The 0.1 percent version of Astepro, which includes the year round allergy indication for children 6 months to 6 years of age and a seasonal allergy indication for children 2 to 6 years old, will require always a prescription.

Reducing histamine reactions to allergens is all about keeping your nose clean. When an allergen enters your body, your immune system goes into defense mode, attacking the foreign substance.

The typical allergic reaction, which includes a stuffy nose, runny nose, and sneezing, is your body’s attempt to clear the allergen from your respiratory system.

When a reaction occurs, nasal sprays provide targeted delivery directly to the site of symptoms.

Dr Léonard Bielory, allergist and immunologist, said that antihistamine nasal sprays help maximize control over the effects of histamine, the most common mediator of allergy.

Histamines are naturally produced neurotransmitters or chemical messengers that communicate with your brain, digestive system, and immune system, informing these systems of the allergen and the need for defense.

Such alternative medicines or complementary solutions help decrease the interaction of pollen with trigger sites in the nasal mucosa (mast cells), said Bielory.

Bielory lists nasal saline as one of these non-drug solutions.

It also mentions formulas with essential oils (for example, herbal formulations containing mint have similar claims in which peppermint oil actually contains two main components, menthone and menthol, which are interdependent). Examples of these formulas include Sinusol, Hydrasense, and BioMint.

Whether you need a spray with an active medical ingredient in it is a discussion to have with your doctor, depending on your medical history and the severity of your allergies.

Using Astepro is not entirely risk-free.

The label warns consumers that the use of Astepro may cause drowsiness and that the use of azelastine nasal sprays with alcohol, sedatives, or tranquilizers may increase drowsiness.

People who use the product are advised to exercise caution when driving a motor vehicle or operating machinery.

If you have chronic allergic reactions or other breathing problems that require long-term use of some type of medicated spray, pay attention to how well the medicine works after a while.

Also, keep in mind that just because you don’t need to see a doctor to access this medication, it would always be a good idea to speak with a primary care doctor to see if this treatment may work. for you. They can also help you learn more about other options available.

“Long-term use of drug solutions can induce tolerance, and some, such as intranasal steroids, have rarely been reported as associated nosebleeds (epistaxis) and even more rarely perforation of the nasal septum,” said declared Bielory.

If you notice any side effects from using a nasal spray, or if you have developed a tolerance to the medicine, discuss other possible options with your doctor, including seeing an allergy specialist who can help you with treatment strategies. long-term management.