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Medicine to Deal with Allergy Signs: Prescription & OTC Drugs

On the whole, there isn’t any treatment for allergy symptoms, however there are a number of kinds of medicines obtainable — each over-the-counter and prescription — to assist ease and deal with annoying signs like congestion and runny nostril. These allergy medicine embody antihistamines, decongestants, mixture medicine, corticosteroids, and others.

Immunotherapy within the type of allergy photographs or tablets below the tongue, which progressively improve your skill to tolerate allergens, are additionally obtainable.


Antihistamines have been used for years to deal with allergy signs. They are often taken as tablets, liquid, nasal spray, or eye drops. Over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamine eye drops can relieve crimson itchy eyes, whereas nasal sprays can be utilized to deal with the signs of seasonal or year-round allergy symptoms.

Examples of antihistamines embody:

  • Over-the-counter:Cetirizine (Zyrtec), fexofenadine (Allegra), levocetirizine (Xyzal), and loratadine (Alavert, Claritin) are taken by mouth. Brompheniramine (Dimetapp allergy, Nasahist B), chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton), clemastine (Tavist), and diphenhydramine (Benadryl) could make you drowsy. Ketotifen (Zaditor) and naphazoline and pheniramine mixture ophthalmic (OcuHist) are eye drops.
  • Prescription: Desloratadine (Clarinex) is a medicine taken by mouth. Azelastine nasal (Astelin) is a nasal spray. Eye drops embody azelastine ophthalmic (Optivar), epinastine ophthalmic (Elestat), and olopatadine ophthalmic (Patanol).

How Do Antihistamines Work?

If you find yourself uncovered to an allergen — for instance, ragweed pollen — it triggers your immune system. Individuals with allergy symptoms have an exaggerated immune response. Immune system cells referred to as “mast cells” launch a substance known as histamine, which attaches to receptors in blood vessels, inflicting them to enlarge. Histamine additionally binds to different receptors inflicting redness, swelling, itching, and adjustments in secretions. By blocking histamine and maintaining it from binding to receptors, antihistamines stop these signs.

What Are the Aspect Results of Antihistamines?

Many older over-the-counter antihistamines might trigger drowsiness. Newer antihistamines that don’t make you drowsy can be found over-the-counter and by prescription.


Decongestants relieve congestion and are sometimes prescribed together with antihistamines for allergy symptoms. They will are available in nasal sprays, eye drops, liquids, and tablets.

Nasal spray and eye drop decongestants must be used for just a few days at a time as a result of long-term use could make signs worse. Tablets and liquid decongestants could be taken longer safely.

Some examples of decongestants which are obtainable over-the-counter embody:

How Do Decongestants Work?

Throughout an allergic response, tissues in your nostril might swell in response to contact with the allergen. That swelling makes fluid and mucus. Blood vessels within the eyes may also swell, inflicting redness. Decongestants work by shrinking swollen nasal tissues and blood vessels, relieving the signs of nasal swelling, congestion, mucus secretion, and redness.

What Are the Aspect Results of Decongestants?

Decongestants might elevate blood strain, in order that they sometimes are usually not beneficial for individuals who have blood strain issues or glaucoma. They could additionally trigger insomnia or irritability and prohibit urinary movement.

Mixture Allergy Medicine

Some allergy medicine comprise each an antihistamine and a decongestant to alleviate a number of allergy signs. Different medicine have a number of results other than simply blocking the consequences of histamine, equivalent to stopping mast cells from releasing different allergy-inducing chemical compounds.

Some examples of mixture allergy medicines embody:

Anticholinergic Nasal Sprays

The drug Ipratropium bromide (Atrovent) can cut back runny nostril. When sprayed into every nostril, it lessens mucus from the glands lining the nasal passages.

What Are the Aspect Results of Anticholinergic Nasal Sprays?

They could trigger a really dry nostril, resulting in nosebleeds or irritation. Different unintended effects embody complications, stuffy nostril, upset abdomen, and sore throat.


Steroids, identified medically as corticosteroids, can cut back irritation related to allergy symptoms. They stop and deal with nasal stuffiness, sneezing, and itchy, runny nostril as a result of seasonal or year-round allergy symptoms. They will additionally lower irritation and swelling from different kinds of allergic reactions.

Systemic steroids can be found in varied types: as tablets or liquids for severe allergy symptoms or bronchial asthma, domestically appearing inhalers for bronchial asthma, domestically appearing nasal sprays for seasonal or year-round allergy symptoms, topical lotions for pores and skin allergy symptoms, or topical eye drops for allergic conjunctivitis. Along with steroid medicines, your physician might determine to prescribe extra kinds of medicines to assist fight your allergic signs.

Steroids are extremely efficient medicine for allergy symptoms, however they have to be taken usually, usually every day, to be of profit — even if you aren’t feeling allergy signs. As well as, it could take 1 to 2 weeks earlier than the total impact of the medication could be felt.

Some steroids embody:

  • Prescription nasal steroids: beclomethasone (Beconase, Qnasl, Qvar), ciclesonide (Alvesco, Omnaris, Zetonna), fluticasone furoate (Veramyst), and mometasone (Nasonex)
  • Over-the-counter nasal steroids: budesonide (Rhinocort Allergy), fluticasone (Flonase Allergy Aid), and triamcinolone (Nasacort Allergy 24HR)
  • Eye drops: dexamethasone ophthalmic (Maxidex), and loteprednol ophthalmic  (Alrex)
  • Oral steroids:prednisone (Deltasone)

What Are the Aspect Results of Steroids?

Steroids have many potential unintended effects, particularly when taken for a very long time.

Uncomfortable side effects of systemic steroids with short-term use embody:

  • Weight acquire
  • Fluid retention
  • Hypertension

Uncomfortable side effects with long-term use embody:

  • Progress suppression
  • Diabetes
  • Cataracts of the eyes
  • Bone-thinning osteoporosis
  • Muscle weak point

Uncomfortable side effects of inhaled steroids might embody cough, hoarseness, or fungal infections of the mouth.

Mast Cell Stabilizers

Mast cell stabilizers deal with delicate to average irritation.

Mast cell stabilizers can be found as eye drops for allergic conjunctivitis, and nasal sprays for nasal allergy signs. Like with many medicine, it could take a number of weeks earlier than the total results are felt.

Some examples of mast cell stabilizers embody:

How Do Mast Cell Stabilizers Work?

Mast cell stabilizers stop the discharge of histamine from mast cells (cells that make and retailer histamine). A few of these medicine even have essential anti-inflammatory results, however sometimes they don’t seem to be as efficient as steroids.

What Are the Aspect Results of Mast Cell Stabilizers?

Throat irritation, coughing, or pores and skin rashes generally occur. Mast cell stabilizers within the type of eye drops might trigger burning, stinging, or blurred imaginative and prescient.

Leukotriene Modifiers

Leukotriene modifiers deal with bronchial asthma and nasal allergy signs. They are often prescribed together with different medicine.

These medicines can be found solely with a physician’s prescription and are available as tablets, chewable tablets, and oral granules.

The one leukotriene modifier that has FDA approval is montelukast  (Singulair).

How Do Leukotriene Modifiers Work?

Leukotriene modifiers block the consequences of leukotrienes, chemical compounds produced within the physique in response to an allergic response.

What Are the Aspect Results of Leukotriene Modifiers?

Uncomfortable side effects of those medicine are uncommon however might embody:

  • Abdomen ache or abdomen upset
  • Heartburn
  • Fever
  • Stuffy nostril
  • Cough
  • Rash
  • Headache
  • Irritability

Different Over-the-Counter Merchandise

Some easy over-the-counter merchandise may help with allergy signs. They embody:

  • Saltwater answer, or saline, is accessible as a nasal spray to alleviate delicate congestion, loosen mucus, and stop crusting. These sprays comprise no drugs.
  • Synthetic tears, which additionally comprise no drugs, can be found to deal with itchy, watery, and crimson eyes.


Immunotherapy could also be one of the efficient types of remedy when you undergo from allergy symptoms greater than 3 months of the yr. Allergy photographs expose you to progressively rising ranges of the offending allergen to assist your immune system construct tolerance.

The FDA has authorised a number of under-the-tongue immunotherapy tablets that may be taken at house. The prescription tablets, known as Grastek, Oralair, and Ragwitek, deal with hay fever and work the identical method as photographs. The aim is to spice up a affected person’s tolerance of allergy triggers. Odactra is an under-the-tongue medicine that may relieve signs of allergy symptoms to mud mites. Palforzia treats peanut allergy.

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