Drugs Home > Azelastine

Azelastine is a medicine that can be prescribed to treat seasonal nasal allergies and vasomotor rhinitis. By preventing the release of histamine from mast cells, the drug can help relieve runny or stuffy nose, itching, and sneezing. Azelastine comes in the form of a nasal spray that is generally used twice a day. Potential side effects include drowsiness, headache, and nasal burning.

What Is Azelastine?

Azelastine hydrochloride nasal spray (Astelin®, Astepro) is a prescription medication approved to treat sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, and nasal itching (known medically as rhinitis).
Astelin is the original version of this medication, while Astepro is the newer version that has a less bitter taste and is less likely to cause nasal discomfort. Both medications are still available.
Astepro is approved to treat seasonal and year-round (perennial) allergies, while Astelin as approved for treating seasonal allergies and non-allergic nasal symptoms due to other irritants (vasomotor rhinitis).
(This article refers to azelastine nasal spray [Astelin or Astepro]. For the eye drop form of this medication, see Optivar.)
(Click What Is Azelastine Used For? for more information, including possible off-label uses.)

Side Effects of Azelastine

As with any medicine, side effects are possible with azelastine. However, not everyone who takes the drug will experience side effects. In fact, most people tolerate it quite well. If side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or can easily be treated by you or your healthcare provider. Serious side effects are less common.
Common side effects of azelastine include, but are not limited to:
  • Bitter taste
  • Headaches
  • Drowsiness
  • Nasal burning.
(Click Side Effects of Azelastine to learn more, including potentially serious side effects that you should report immediately to your healthcare provider.) 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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