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Title: Azelastine  
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Subject: Antihistamine, H1 antagonist, ATC code R06, Dexchlorpheniramine, Dexbrompheniramine
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Systematic (IUPAC) name
(RS)-4-[(4-chlorophenyl)methyl]-2- (1-methylazepan-4-yl)-phthalazin-1-one
Clinical data
Trade names Generic, many names.[1]
  • US: C (Risk not ruled out)
Legal status
Routes of
intranasal, ocular
Pharmacokinetic data
Bioavailability 40% (intranasal)
Biological half-life 22 hours
CAS Registry Number  Y
ATC code R01 R06, S01
PubChem CID:
DrugBank  Y
ChemSpider  Y
Chemical data
Formula C22H24ClN3O
Molecular mass 381.898 g/mol

Azelastine is a potent, second-generation, selective, histamine antagonist (histamine-H1-receptor antagonist) used a a first line therapy of mild intermittent, moderate/severe intermittent and mild persistent rhinitis (new classification system for rhinitis).

Azelastine has been formulated both as a nasal spray and as eye drops and are available worldwide under many brand names.[1]


  • Medical uses 1
  • Side effects 2
  • Pharmacokinetics and metabolism 3
  • Mode of action 4
  • Chemical properties 5
  • Society and culture 6
    • Availability 6.1
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Medical uses

Azelastine nasal spray is indicated for the local treatment of the symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis and perennial allergic rhinitis, such as rhinorrhea, sneezing and nasal pruritis in adults and children 5 years of age and older.[2][3][4] In some countries, it is also indicated for the treatment of vasomotor rhinitis in adults and children ≥ 12 years old.[4] Azelastine eyes drops are indicated for the local treatment of seasonal and perennial allergic conjunctivitis.[5][6]

Side effects

Azelastine is safe and well tolerated in both adults and children with allergic rhinitis.[7][8][9] Bitter taste, headache, nasal burning and somnolence are the most frequently reported adverse events. US prescribing recommendations warn against the concurrent use of alcohol and/or other central nervous system depressants, but to date there have been no studies to assess the effects of azelastine nasal spray on the CNS in humans. More recent studies[10][11] have shown similar degrees of somnolence (approx. 2%) compared with placebo treatment. The problem of bitter taste may be reduced by correct application of the nasal spray (i.e. slightly tipping the head forward and not inhaling the medication too deeply), or alternatively using the azelastine/sucralose formulation.

Pharmacokinetics and metabolism

The systemic bioavailability of azelastine is approximately 40% when administered intranasally. Maximum plasma concentrations (Cmax) are observed within 2–3 hours. The elimination half life, steady-state volume of distribution and plasma clearance are 22 h, 14.5 l/kg and 0.5 l/h/kg respectively (based on intravenous and oral administration data). Azelastine is oxidatively metabolized by the cytochrome P450 family into its active metabolite, desmethylazelastine, and two inactive carboxylic acid metabolites. Approximately 75% of an oral dose is excreted in feces. Pharmacokinetics of orally administered azelastine are not affected by age, gender or hepatic impairment.[12]

Mode of action

Azelastine has a triple mode of action:[12]

  1. Anti-histamine effect,
  2. Mast-cell stabilizing effect and
  3. Anti-inflammatory effect.

Chemical properties

The chemical nomenclature of azelastine is (±)-1-(2H)-phthalazinone, 4-[(4-chlorophenyl) methyl]-2-(hexahydro-1-methyl-1H-azepin-4-yl)-monohydrochloride. It is white, almost odorless with a bitter taste.[13]

Society and culture


Azelastine is generic and available worldwide under many brand names.[1]


  1. ^ a b c international listings for azelastine Page accessed June 28, 2015
  2. ^ AHRQ Allergic Rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma (ARIA) treatment guidelines
  3. ^ "Rhinolast Nasal Spray Summary of Product Characteristics". Oct 2009. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  4. ^ a b "Astelin FDA Prescribing Information". Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  5. ^ "Optilast Eye Drops Summary of Product Characteristics". Jan 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  6. ^ "Optivar Eye Drops FDA Prescribing Information". Jan 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  7. ^ McNeely, W; Wiseman, LR (July 1998). "Intranasal azelastine. A review of its efficacy in the management of allergic rhinitis.". Drugs 56 (1): 91–114.  
  8. ^ Ratner PH, Findlay SR, Hampel F, van Bavel J, Widlitz MD, Freitag JJ (November 1994). "A double-blind, controlled trial to assess the safety and efficacy of azelastine nasal spray in seasonal allergic rhinitis". The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 94 (5): 818–25.  
  9. ^ LaForce C, Dockhorn RJ, Prenner BM; et al. (February 1996). "Safety and efficacy of azelastine nasal spray (Astelin NS) for seasonal allergic rhinitis: a 4-week comparative multicenter trial". Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology 76 (2): 181–8.  
  10. ^ Corren J, Storms W, Bernstein J, Berger W, Nayak A, Sacks H (May 2005). "Effectiveness of azelastine nasal spray compared with oral cetirizine in patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis". Clinical Therapeutics 27 (5): 543–53.  
  11. ^ Berger W, Hampel F, Bernstein J, Shah S, Sacks H, Meltzer EO (September 2006). "Impact of azelastine nasal spray on symptoms and quality of life compared with cetirizine oral tablets in patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis". Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology 97 (3): 375–81.  
  12. ^ a b Horak, Friedrich; Zieglmayer, Ursula Petra (2009). "Azelastine nasal spray for the treatment of allergic and nonallergic rhinitis". Expert Review of Clinical Immunology 5 (6): 659–69.  
  13. ^ Azelastine Page accessed June 28, 2015

External links

  • Rhinolast Nasal Spray Summary of Product Characteristics
  • Optilast Eye Drops Summary of Product Characteristics
  • Allergic Rhinitis and its Impact on Asthma (ARIA) Guidelines
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