A clinical study to evaluate the efficacy of the antihistamine doxylamine succinate in the relief of runny nose and sneezing associated with upper respiratory tract infection.

Antihistamines are widely used in common cold medications, although the role of histamine in the development of common cold symptoms is unclear and the use of antihistamines for the treatment of common cold is controversial. It is clear that antihistamines do not offer a cure for common cold but they may alleviate symptoms of sneezing and runny nose. The present study was designed to investigate the efficacy of an antihistamine, doxylamine, on the symptoms of runny nose and sneezing associated with common cold. We conducted a randomized double-blind study in cold sufferers. One thousand and one volunteers with cold symptoms were screened in four centres (UK, Denmark, Belgium, Germany) and 688 satisfied the entry criteria of the study. The main reasons for excluding subjects were a low nasal secretion weight (secretion weight < 0.2g, 72%) and a low subjective rhinorrhoea score (24%). Volunteers were randomized to receive either doxylamine succinate 7.5 mg by mouth four times a day up to nine doses (n = 345) or placebo (n = 343). The principal measurements were prospectively defined as runny nose and sneezing symptom scores. Data were analysed on an intention-to-treat basis, using Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel statistics controlling for baseline symptom scores. A between-group comparison showed that doxylamine-treated volunteers benefited from a significantly greater reduction in runny nose scores (P < 0.01) and sneezing scores (P < 0.001), than those volunteers in the placebo group. Doxylamine therapy was well tolerated; the incidence of unexpected side-effects was comparable with placebo. Of the expected side-effects, 13.3% of doxylamine-treated patients reported drowsiness. The incidence of sedative effects was lower than has been reported for other commonly used first-generation antihistamines.
AuthorsR Eccles, P Van Cauwenberge, W Tetzloff, P Borum
JournalThe Journal of pharmacy and pharmacology (J Pharm Pharmacol) Vol. 47 Issue 12A Pg. 990-3 (Dec 1995) ISSN: 0022-3573 [Print] England
PMID8932681 (Publication Type: Clinical Trial, Comparative Study, Journal Article, Multicenter Study, Randomized Controlled Trial)
Chemical References
  • Histamine H1 Antagonists
  • Doxylamine
  • doxylamine succinate
  • Common Cold (drug therapy)
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Doxylamine (adverse effects, analogs & derivatives, therapeutic use)
  • Histamine H1 Antagonists (adverse effects, therapeutic use)
  • Humans
  • Respiratory Tract Infections (drug therapy)
  • Sneezing (drug effects)

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