CLEVELAND – About one out of every seven Americans has nasal symptoms as a result of seasonal allergies.
Now, recent guidelines have been issued to give allergy sufferers, ages 12 and older, direction on how to best manage the symptoms of allergic rhinitis.
Cleveland Clinic’s David Lang, M.D., was a co-author on the study, which looked at which approaches to treatment were most effective.
Researchers looked at whether doctors should prescribe an intranasal steroid, or steroid nasal spray, or a combination of a steroid nasal spray and with an oral antihistamine medication.
“We looked at whether it is best for initial treatment to take an intranasal steroid alone, or an intranasal steroid combined with a non-sedating antihistamine, and the evidence indicates that an intranasal steroid, alone, is the best option” said Dr. Lang.
Dr. Lang said the research showed that using a steroid nasal spray, alone, was the best option, based on evidence, and was categorized in the guideline as a strong recommendation.
For someone with moderate to severe symptoms, he said the new guidelines showed that combining a nasal steroid spray along with an intranasal antihistamine was more effective than a nasal steroid spray alone.
Dr. Lang pointed out that using the intranasal antihistamine sometimes causes an unpleasant taste or can sometimes makes people sleepy, so it should be used with caution. For this reason, this was categorized in the guideline as a ‘weak recommendation.’
He said the good news is that there are effective treatments for seasonal allergy symptoms, so people do not have to suffer needlessly.
“If you have symptoms, an intranasal steroid, over-the-counter, alone, can be very effective for you,” said Dr. Lang.
Dr. Lang said steroid nasal sprays are safe and widely used. The only side effect to be aware of, he said, is if a person starts to experience nosebleeds, in which case, they should stop using the spray and consult a doctor.