Health

OTC allergy medication equivalent to prescription drug

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted March 13, 2006

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The over-the-counter decongestant pseudoephedrine is equally effective to the prescription drug montelukast at relieving the symptoms associated with ragweed allergy, according to a study published in the February Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery.

Researchers randomized 58 adults with confirmed ragweed allergic rhinitis to receive either 240 mg of pseudoephedrine or 10 mg of montelukast sodium daily for two weeks.

Patients kept diaries of their symptoms and completed quality-of-life questionnaires at the beginning and end of the trial.

Both treatments improved symptoms and quality of life, although pseudoephedrine was more effective for nasal congestion.

The authors concluded that these two drugs were equivalent but are calling for larger trials that might find more adverse events.

"These agents appear equivalent for the treatment of seasonal allergic rhinitis," wrote the authors. "A larger study may have shown a difference in the adverse effect profile."

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2006/03/13/hlbf0313.htm.

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