Objective: The goals of this article include the reporting of the epidemiology, economic and medical impact of allergic rhinitis. In addition, the pharmacology and clinical profile of the therapeutic agent cetirizine are reviewed. Data sources: A detailed literature search was conducted. References are limited to the English language and human subjects and tissues. Studies considered relevant and important over the past 20 years are highlighted. Study selection: Prevalence and morbidity data were chosen from more recent assessments. Because cetirizine is a relatively new compound, studies from the past several years from peer-reviewed journals have been emphasized. Results: Allergic rhinitis affects between 15% and 25% of the US general population. It shares common pathophysiologic mechanisms with conjunctivitis and asthma and predisposes to nasal infections, otitis media, sinusitis, nasal polyposis, and orthodontic malocclusions. Direct medical care costs amount to up to 3 billion dollars every year. In addition, the quality of life of affected individuals is substantially compromised. Cetirizine is a potent H1-receptor antagonist and has anti-inflammatory properties. It does not interact with concomitantly administered medications, has no cardiac adverse effects, and does not appear to be associated with teratogenicity. Impairment of CNS function is comparable to other low- sedating antihistamines at the recommended dose of 10 mg daily for adults. Its clinical efficacy for allergic respiratory diseases has been established in numerous trials. Conclusions: Allergic rhinitis causes considerable suffering. Cetirizine, with a fine risk-benefit ratio, can be a most valuable therapeutic option.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine