Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Allergies Health Center

Font Size

Steroid Nasal Sprays Bring Better Hay Fever Relief

By
WebMD Health News

Nov. 27, 2001 -- Instead of popping antihistamines during allergy season, try nasal sprays instead. Looks like they're a better choice for getting long-term relief.

In a study that compared leading steroid nasal sprays and antihistamines, people using the nasal sprays got more complete symptom relief -- and better quality-of-life -- than those taking antihistamines, according to lead author Scott M. Kaszuba, MD, a researcher with the University of Chicago. His study appears in the current issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

It seems allergies cause a one-two punch -- first comes the sneezing, then congestion sets in. Antihistamines help put a stop to sneezing, but nasal sprays actually seem to halt the entire allergic response, Kaszuba says in his paper.

In his study, he randomly assigned spray or pills to 88 people who had suffered from allergies during the fall, when ragweed pollen was peaking in the Chicago area. Half were given nasal spray, and half received antihistamine pills. For 28 days, they were asked to take their medications on an "as-needed" basis, so that the study would simulate real life.

Each participant also kept a diary, recording the severity of symptoms and whether they took medications or not. At the end of the study, each returned to answer questions about their quality-of-life -- how well they slept and whether symptoms interrupted their everyday lives.

The group using the nasal spray had "significant improvement" in terms of quality-of-life and total symptom relief, says Kaszuba. As the season progressed, each using nasal spray did not show any signs of allergic response. "Subsequently, [they] had fewer symptoms and a better quality-of-life," he writes.

He recommends regular use of nasal sprays for people with severe allergic reactions, and as-needed use for those with mild allergies.

His study was funded in part by grants from Glaxo Wellcome, Inc., and from the National Institutes of Health.

Today on WebMD

man blowing nose
Make these tweaks to your diet, home, and lifestyle.
Allergy capsule
Breathe easier with these products.
 
cat on couch
Live in harmony with your cat or dog.
Woman sneezing with tissue in meadow
Which ones affect you?
 

woman sneezing
Slideshow
Bottle of allergy capsules and daisies
Article
 
Urban blossoms
Slideshow
Woman blowing nose
Slideshow
 

Woman with itchy watery eyes
Slideshow
Allergy prick test
VIDEO
 
Man sneezing into tissue
Tools
woman with duster crinkling nose
Quiz