Astelin (azelastine) is a unique drug with a chemical structure unlike any other allergy or asthma medication. It is approved for both seasonal and annual (chronic) allergic rhinitis and is available only by prescription. Allergic rhinitis is the most common type of allergy and is also known as "hay fever". Basically, an inflammation of mucous membranes that occurs when allergens touch the lining of your nose. Symptoms of allergic rhinitis are characterized by sneezing, congestion, itching and dripping of the nose, and itchy, watery eyes.
Astelin nasal spray is used to alleviate the symptoms associated with allergic rhinitis. These symptoms are often associated with a number of environmental allergies such as pollen, dust, animal dander, and mold. This works quickly, can be used as needed, is steroid-free, and does not contain pseudoephedrine.
Not Your Average Antihistamine
This is known as the only antihistamine nasal spray and has two main advantages over oral antihistamines. The first is that it provides targeted therapy to the areas of the body where its needed most. Oral medication must travel a long way through your digestive system and bloodstream before making its way to your head. When you're miserable, that can take a long time.
The second advantage is that Astelin is the only antihistamine approved for both allergic and vasomotor (nonallergic) rhinitis. Vasomotor rhinitis produces the same symptoms as allergic rhinitis and can be triggered by a variety of factors. These may include environmental irritants such as cigarette smoke or perfume, hormonal changes, temperature changes, and stress.
While it works as an antihistamine to block the effects of histamine on the body, it also contains properties of a bronchodilator and corticosteroid by relaxing constricted bronchial tubes in the lungs. This is unusual for a steroid-free product.
Astelin and the Rebound Effect
Some over-the-counter decongestant nasal sprays contain a topical vasoconstrictor which restricts blood supply to the nose and sinuses, thus reducing swelling, excess secretions, and congestion. However, if these over-the-counter sprays are used for more than a few days a rebound effect can occur. In others words, the more you use, the more you need, until the product becomes ineffective alike. Then you're back to square one with your allergy problems or even worse off than you were before.
Astelin does not cause rebound congestion because it does not contain a topical vasoconstrictor. The most common side effects include a bitter taste sensation, headache, nasal inflammation or burning, and drowsiness. It is approved for use in patients 5 years and older. Its generic equivalent, azelastine, is also available as an eye solution for the treatment of allergic conjunctivitis.
If you'd like to learn more about Astelin or its generic equivalent, please contact your doctor or pharmacist for additional information.