Targeting congestion in allergic rhinitis: The importance of intranasal corticosteroids

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12 Scopus citations


The cardinal nasal symptoms of allergic rhinitis (AR) are sustained by an underlying inflammatory process. Congestion is one of the most prominent and distressing symptoms for patients and is strongly associated with a broadly deteriorated quality of life and significant losses in productivity. The purpose of this study was to explore the role of intranasal corticosteroids (INSs) in down-regulating the inflammatory response to allergen and their clinical efficacy on AR symptoms, particularly congestion. AR is characterized by an influx of inflammatory cells and mediators into the nasal mucosa after antigen exposure. The response is biphasic, encompassing an early and a late phase. Antigen exposure has a priming effect, decreasing the threshold for subsequent allergic reaction on rechallenge and increasing the responsiveness of the nasal mucosa. INSs are a mainstay of therapy for AR and the most effective intervention for nasal congestion and other nasal symptoms, with established superiority to antihistamines, decongestants, and leukotriene antagonists. In addition to symptom relief, INSs suppress numerous stages of the inflammatory cascade, inhibiting the influx of inflammatory cells and mediators. Topical nasal corticosteroids have a low incidence of local adverse effects, negligible systemic absorption, and excellent safety. Congestion is one of the most bothersome symptoms of AR. INS therapy improves AR symptoms, with particular efficacy in relieving congestion, by attenuating nasal hyperresponsiveness. Pretreatment with INSs has been shown to relieve early and late-phase clinical symptoms of AR. Modification of the disease process results in significant relief of symptoms and leads to fewer disease exacerbations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)232-240
Number of pages9
JournalAllergy and Asthma Proceedings
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2008


  • Airway reactivity
  • Allergic rhinitis
  • Biphasic allergic response
  • Congestion
  • Hyperreactivity
  • Inflammation
  • Intranasal corticosteroids
  • Nasal symptoms
  • Priming
  • Topical steroids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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