Ebastine in allergic rhinitis and chronic idiopathic urticaria
Histamine is a key mediator in the development of allergy symptoms, and oral H1-antihistamines are among the most widely used treatments for symptomatic relief in conditions such as allergic rhinitis and chronic urticaria. Ebastine is a second-generation antihistamine which has been shown to be an effective treatment for both seasonal and perennial allergic rhinitis. In controlled clinical trials in adult and adolescent patients with allergic rhinitis, ebastine 10 mg once-daily improved symptoms to a significantly greater extent than placebo and to a similar extent as loratadine 10 mg and cetirizine 10 mg (both once-daily), while ebastine 20 mg proved to be more effective than these two comparator antihistamines. In addition, ebastine was significantly more effective than placebo at relieving the symptoms of chronic idiopathic urticaria. Ebastine provides efficacy throughout the 24-h dosing interval with once-daily administration and clinical benefit is seen from the first day of treatment. Small studies have found beneficial effects for ebastine in patients with other disorders, including cold urticaria, dermographic urticaria, atopic asthma, mosquito bites and (in combination with pseudoephedrine) the common cold. In addition to the regular ebastine tablet, a fast-dissolving tablet (FDT) formulation, which disintegrates in the mouth without the aid of a drink, is also available. It has been shown to be bioequivalent to the regular tablet, and to be significantly more effective than desloratadine at reducing histamine-induced cutaneous wheals. A number of patient surveys demonstrated that the majority of individuals who tried the fast-dissolving formulation reported it to be convenient for use, fast-acting and preferred it to their previous antihistamine medication. Perhaps most importantly, a large proportion of patients indicated that they would prefer to use this new formulation in the future. Ebastine has a rapid onset of action and it can be administered once-daily, with or without food. Dose modifications are not needed in elderly patients, or in those with renal or mild to moderate hepatic impairment. Ebastine is generally well-tolerated, and clinical studies showed that at usual therapeutic doses of 10 and 20 mg once-daily, it had no clinically relevant adverse effects on cognitive function and psychomotor performance or on cardiovascular function. In conclusion, ebastine is an effective and generally well-tolerated treatment for allergic rhinitis and chronic idiopathic urticaria. In addition to the regular tablet formulation, ebastine is available as a FDT, providing a treatment option that is particularly convenient for patients.