May 23, 2006

CORRECTION: Benadryl edges Clarinex for hay fever

By David Douglas

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Diphenhydramine hydrochloride
-- more familiarly known as Benadryl -- appears to be more
effective than desloratadine, a.k.a. Clarinex, in relieving
symptoms of moderate to severe hay fever, according to

"Benadryl provided significantly better overall allergy
symptom relief than Clarinex," investigator Dr. James T.
Angello told Reuters Health. "Even more noteworthy in this
study is the finding that Benadryl relieved nasal congestion
just as well as it reduced allergic rhinitis (i.e., hay fever)
symptoms as a whole."

However, Benadryl caused more drowsiness than Clarinex.

As reported In the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and
Immunology, Angello, of Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, Morris
Plains, New Jersey and colleagues studied 610 patients who were
randomly assigned to take 50 milligrams of diphenhydramine
three times daily, 5 milligrams of desloratadine once daily, or
an inactive placebo.

At the end of the 7-day study, it was found that the
average reduction in total nasal symptom scores in the
diphenhydramine group relative to placebo was 78 percent. For
the desloratadine group, it was 21 percent.

Compared to placebo and desloratadine, diphenhydramine
provided significant improvement in scores for all symptoms
including nasal congestion. However, although desloratadine had
a tendency toward improvement compared with placebo, this
reached statistical significance only for sneezing.

Sleepiness was reported by 22 percent of patients taking
diphenhydramine, compared with 4 percent of patients taking
desloratadine and 3percent of those taking placebo.

This research was supported by a grant from Pfizer, which
markets Benadryl.

SOURCE: Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, April