Background Early studies with desloratadine demonstrated efficacy in treating seasonal allergic rhinitis (SAR). A dose-ranging study was conducted to characterize its 24-hour efficacy in patients with SAR. Methods Patients (N = 1,026) were randomly assigned once-daily (QD) desloratadine (2.5, 5, 7.5, 10, or 20 mg) for 2 weeks in a placebo-controlled, double-blind study. The end point of 24-hour efficacy was assessed by the mean change from baseline in the average AM instantaneous total symptom score (TSS) over the treatment period. Day 2 data were assessed for efficacy of desloratadine following the first dose. Other efficacy variables included AM/PM previous total nasal and nonnasal symptom scores and individual symptom scores. Results Desloratadine 5–20 mg was significantly (P < .01) more effective than placebo in improving total AM instantaneous TSS and AM/PM previous total nasal and nonnasal symptom scores. This dosing range also was significantly (P < .01) more effective than placebo for reducing AM instantaneous TSS beginning with the first dose; thus, demonstrating the full 24-hour efficacy of desloratadine. AM/PM previous scores for all individual symptoms, including nasal congestion, were also significantly improved versus placebo (P < .05) with desloratadine at 5, 7.5, and 20 mg. All treatments were well tolerated. There were no clinically meaningful changes in electrocardiogram parameters. Conclusion Desloratadine 5–20 mg provided significant 24-hour relief of SAR signs and symptoms. There were no statistically significant differences between the 4 largest doses suggesting that desloratadine 5 mg QD offers the best therapeutic profile for patients with SAR.