July 12, 2022 A little over a year after its FDA approval, Bayer has announced that its prescription-strength nasal spray for indoor and outdoor allergies (brand name Astepro) is now available over the counter nationwide.
Astepro, which is made up of 0.15% strength of the antihistamine azelastine and can take just 30 minutes to kick in, is the first and only steroid-free antihistamine nasal spray for allergies that can be purchased without a prescription. The spray is made to relieve congestion and symptoms of hay fever for those 6 years old and up.
Catherine Vennat, a vice president at Bayers marketing department, in a news release called the spray a “breakthrough” in allergy treatments.
Users of the OTC spray can use Astepro up to twice a day to provide 24-hour relief, Bayer said. According to the products website, the medication costs anywhere from $15.99 to $24.99 at major retail sstores across the country and online through Walmart, Amazon, Walgreens and Target.
“In my experience, azelastine nose spray is safe and efficacious,” says David Rosenstreich, MD, professor of allergy and immunology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. “It can be used by itself or in combination with a nasal corticosteroid like fluticasone for added symptom relief.”
Rosenstreich added that, in addition to drowsiness, patients should be aware that some users experience a bad taste in their mouths after using the spray.
Drowsiness is a possible side effect of Astepro, as it is with other oral antihistamines like cetirizine (Zyrtec), loratadine (Claritin), and fexofenadine (Allegra).