Friday, February 6, 2009

What I Know about Astepro, including My Own Taste Test

I am going to summarize what I know about Astelin and Astepro, because I have been asked by patients and because their marketing department is pumping out lots of information, which can be confusing to all.

Astepro contains the same antihistamine, azalastine, as Astelin, in a new solution. Astelin, which is azalastine in the old solution, has been criticized because the post nasal drainage had a bitter taste (19.7%) (strong in my
) and sleepiness (11.5%), according to the package insert. These were significant adverse effects in my and my patients' experience. If shared nationally, this may have contributed lower sales and Meda's decision to develop a newer formulation. Astepro's package insert lists bitter taste as 7% (versus placebo 2%) and sleepiness 2% (versus placebo 0%). This is not as surprising, because Astepro's formulation uses sorbitol and sucralose (as in the artificial sweetener).

So I decided to try Astepro so I conducted
my own taste test
last week before I prescribed it for my patients. I had postnasal drip, but it was sweet, likely from the sucralose. I did not feel sleepy. Note, I don't have allergic rhinitis nor nonallergic rhinitis. I don't any feedback from my patients yet.

From calling around some local pharmacies, I found the
average retail price of
Astepro to be about $108. The average retail price for Astelin is about $113 per bottle. Both have coupons available on the Internet. If you decide to try Astepro, remember to ask at your doctor's office for a special coupon, that provides $100 credit to the first month, making it <$10. It's their introductory offer, not mine.

Tip: the way to distinguish them is to look the labels
. Astelin is blue letters on a white background, whereas Astepro is white letters on a blue background
- the reverse. Ignore the "New" label. From my readings, the label can only be used for 6 months and then it has to be removed. I couldn't find any accurate pictures in the 2009 Physician's Desk Reference or on the Internet. Note some pictures have an incorrect label. Here is the only correct product photo on the internet to date.

[Disclaimer: I have not received any payments for any reason from Meda. I do not own any Meda stock. I did not do any clinical trials with Meda. With a daughter in college, I am open for discussions.]


Donald said...

JUst read your post. Excellent. Thanks.

I've been using Asatepro in conjunction with a antihistamine pill. Knocked me out. After a few days of experimenting I'v eself subscribed one spray a day , if needed in late afternoon to allay a very runny nose. So far no more somnelence. It was bad. I just wanted to sleep ll day.

My only symptom is a very runny nose and a mild post nasal drip.

But! I've been getting a lot of leg cramps at night. I've also had some other new prescriptions, and I'm checking side effects on them. Just thought You might be interested.

Incidentally, I've discovered that if I need a "sleeping pill" all I meed to do is take one quarter of the recomended dose of Benadryl and I sleep like a baby.


Don Hoffman

Donald said...

PS from Don Hoffman

I do get a bitter aftertaste. Not bad and only for a few minutes.

lisa said...

this medication is a gift from [insert preferred deity here]. i have TERRIBLE allergic rhinitis that causes migraines at it's worst... but i have bipolar with fairly bad anxiety, so i can't take ANY oral allergy medicine besides benedryl. which doesn't do much for serious rhinitis in the first place.

~48 hours after beginning to take Astepro, i was 50% "cured"!! after 2 weeks on Astepro, i'd say 90% or more (PLUS no migraines!).

terrible bitter aftertaste and bloody nose the first few days, now i barely notice the taste at all. no drowsiness, no other side effects.

the shame is, my insurance doesn't cover it, my doctors don't have any more samples 'cause i've used them up, and i can't afford $100/month. i'm going to try VERY hard to swing it for the next few months tho, to get me through the summer. as of this moment i've been off Astepro for ~24 hours and i've already had a migraine and couldn't leave the house at all today because of how powerfully my allergies came back.

Astepro For The Win!

Tim Collopy said...

I've been using Astepro successfully for over a year in combination with Nasonex (2 squirts of each in each nostril every morning). Now I'm concerned about studies showing long-term side effects of sucralose & sorbitol, both of which are in Astepro. Is there a version of Astepro that doesn't use these chemical sweeteners?

Isabelle Briar said...

The aftertaste is so bad it leaves me gagging and nearly vomiting. On top of that, it persists for HOURS. Its completely intolerable and disgusting.

Elisha Battle said...
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