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Background: Allergic Rhinitis (AR) is a very common disease that affects almost 10-30% of the world’s population. Second-generation H1 antihistaminics are the preferred drugs for treatment of patients with AR. Levocetirizine and desloratadine are commonly prescribed newer non-sedating second-generation antihistaminics. Various studies show no difference in efficacy and quality of life (QOL) between the two drugs desloratadine and levocetirizine and that the drugs are quiet safe; however, some studies show negative impact on patients’ QOL with these drugs. Studies comparing the two drugs were insufficient in India; hence, this study was designed to evaluate and compare the efficacy, safety and QOL of patients with AR, following treatment with levocetirizine or desloratadine, in the Indian scenario.
Methods: This 2-month randomized, prospective study was performed in 60 patients with AR visiting the department of Otorhinolaryngology. Patients were randomized into one of the two treatment groups, and prescribed levocetirizine 5 mg once daily for two weeks or desloratadine 5 mg once daily for two weeks. The outcome measures for the severity of AR symptoms used were Total Nasal Symptom Score (TNSS); and QOL was assessed using Rhinoconjunctivitis Quality of Life Questionnaire (RQLQ) Score.
Results: Data from 54 patients who completed the study shows that both levocetirizine and desloratadine significantly (p<0.05) improved the AR symptoms and QOL at the end of 2 weeks study period, analyzed using TNSS and RQLQ scores, respectively. However, statistically non-significant differences in analysis of TNSS score between levocetirizine and desloratadine showed that the two drugs may be equally effective in patients with AR, with patients on levocetirizine showing slightly better response. The adverse events were low in patients on levocetirizine and no adverse event was seen with desloratadine. At baseline visit, rhinorrhoea was the most common and severe symptom, whereas nasal itching was the least common and severe symptom.
Conclusion: Study findings showed that both levocetirizine and desloratadine were equally effective in patients with AR, however, desloratadine group showed better safety profile. The drugs were safe and well tolerated.