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First Nasal Spray for Allergies Now Available Over-the-Counter

by Fujie Tham
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Bayer shared that its Astepro (azelastine) antihistamine nasal spray is now available over-the-counter (OTC) in the US, making it the first and only allergy spray to be marketed under these settings. 

Astepro is made up of 0.15% the prescription-strength antihistamine, azelastine and takes only 30 minutes to work, the spray is indicated to relieve congestion and symptoms of seasonal and perennial allergic rhinitis, also known as allergies, for 6 years old and above. The spray was approved by the FDA for nonprescription use in June 2021, after a process called a partial prescription to nonprescription switch.

“Allergy sufferers now have access to the fastest, 24-hour nasal allergy medicine available OTC with steroid-free Astepro Allergy – a breakthrough in the category. With the sheer speed of our product, allergy sufferers can embrace the moment without worrying about when they will feel relief,” said Catherine Vennat, Vice President/General Manager of Upper Respiratory, Bayer US Consumer Health.

Related article: NIH Launches mRNA Nipah Virus Vaccine Trial With Moderna

50M Allergies Sufferers Annually Means Big Market Potential

Following the pandemic, Bayer is actively diversifying its allergy unit’s portfolio after a drop in sales during the pandemic, with sales dropping 34.9% in the first quarter of 2021. The company cited the increase in hygiene measures and lockdowns as the cause of this drop.

While Astepro was planned to hit American shelves during this year’s spring season, the product may have missed 2022’s peak allergy season, but there are still demands for the product as waves of allergens tend to fluctuate throughout the year in the US. Tree pollination begins earliest in the year followed by grass pollination later in the spring and summer, then followed by ragweed in late summer and fall.

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, allergies are one of the top leading causes of chronic illness in the United States, and more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year. The nasal spray’s OTC availability allows people with allergies to have an effective and easy antihistamine option without needing assistance from a healthcare provider.

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