Medicine for allergy comes in diverse forms such as liquids, pills, nasal drops, eye-drops, sprays, skin creams or ointments and shots or injections for use and application in most suitable ways on the area of the body for most effective results. Again, some simple, minor over the counter medicines for allergies are available presumably for tackling non-serious, but immediate needs, while prescription medicine allergies also are aplenty for treating various allergies in systematic ways. A glimpse of all such categories of medicines will provide an overall idea suggesting which way to go for treating those allergies.
I.Antihistamines: These are popular medicines for allergic reactions forming major chunk of both over-the-counter and prescription drugs. The antihistamines are capable of stopping histamine which is responsible for the symptom- causing chemical which the immune system secretes under allergic conditions.
(a)Pills and liquids: Antihistamines in these forms tackle itchy/watery eyes, runny nose and other allergy-induced symptoms. However, you’ve to be wary of a few antihistamines such as Diphenhydamine (Benadryl) and Chlorpheniramine which are known to cause drowsiness and hence, you’ve to desist from using them while driving.
Other antihistamines with less-likely drowsing effect are Ceterizine (Zyrtec), Fexofenadine (Allegra), and Loratadine (Alavert).
(b). Eye-drops: Antihistamine eye-drops combined with other medicines cure itchy, swollen eyes. A warning is these may cause headache, dry eyes or burning at times. On such occasions, refrigerate and use them after applying refrigerated artificial tear-drops. Some such medicines are: Azelastine(Optivar) and Ketotifen (Alaway).
(c) Nasal sprays: Antihistamine nasal sprays are effective curing runny, itchy nose, sneezing, postnasal drip and sinus congestion. Some tolerable side-effects are drowsiness or fatigue and bitter taste. Azelastine (Astelin) and Olopatadine (Patanase) are some nasal drops of this family.
- Corticosteroids: Mostly prescription-based, Corticosteroids effectively suppress allergy-induced inflammation.
(a). Pills and liquids: Some oral medicines include Prednisolone(Flo-Pred, Prelone) and Prednisone( Prednisone Intensol) which are very effective treating acute symptoms of all allergies. You’ve to balance them against their prolonged use which is known to cause muscle weakness, osteoporosis, cataracts, high blood sugar, increased hypertension and delayed growth in children.
(b). Eye-drops: Corticosteroid eye-drops are most effective for continued watery, red itchy eyes. But its application needs constant monitoring against the risk of any visual impairment. Some medicine eye allergies in use are: Prednisolone (Omnipred, Pred Forte),Fluorometholone(Flarex, FML) and Rimexolone (Vexol).
(c). Nasal sprays: These relieve sneezing, runny nose and congestion in nose despite causing some side-effects such as sour taste or smell, nose bleeds and nasal irritation which you’ve to tolerate. Some nasal sprays used are Budesonide (Rhinocart Acqua), Mometasone (Nasonex) and Triamcinolone(Nasacort Allergy 24).
(d).Inhalers: Inhaler-corticosteroids are an everyday-use item by people affected with asthma and air-borne allergies. Likely side-effects, though minor, include oral yeast infections, and mouth and throat irritations. Some inhalers come combined with other asthma medications which are prescription-based. They are: Ciclesonide (Alvesco), Mometasone (Asmanex, Twisthaler), Beclomethasone (Qvar), Budesonide (Pulmicort Flexhaler) and Fluticasone(Advair Diskus,Flovent Diskus).
III. Decongestants: These are ideal offering quick and timely relief for nasal and sinus congestion. Some possible side-effects are headache, high blood pressure, irritability and insomnia. These are not suitable medicines for allergies while pregnant, and for people with high blood pressure, hypothyroidism and cardiovascular diseases.
(a). Pills and liquids: Decongestants in these forms cure nasal and sinus stuffiness arising out of hay fever. An over-the-counter decongestant is pseudoephedrine (Sudafed).
Many medicines food allergies which are cheap and best include decongestants mixed with antihistamines such as Loratadine and pseudoephedrine (Claritin-D) and Cetirizine and pseudoephedrine (Zyrtec-D).
(b). Nasal sprays and drops: These relieve nasal and sinus congestion when used for brief spells. Use for exceeding 3 days may cause worsening of the congestion. Examples medicines are Oxymetazoline (Afrin, Distan) and Tetrahydrozoline (Tyzine).
(c). Skin creams: Corticosteroid creams cure skin allergies like scaling or other irritations, redness and itching. Over-the-counter creams are also available for your use under doctor’s guidance. Side-effects occur such as irritation and skin discoloration. Prolonged use of strong creams may result in thinning of skin and change of normal hormone level. Medicines in use are: Desonide (Desonate, DesOwen) and Mometasone (Elocon).
- Mast Cell stabilizers: These stabilizers also are powerful medicines for allergies stopping the secretion of the immune system chemicals which cause allergic reactions. They are safe, but need to be used for several days for full result when antihistamines are not effective.
(a). Nasal spray: Cromolyn, an over-the –counter nasal spray, belongs to this group.
(b).Eye-drops: As prescription medicines, they include Perolast (Alamast) and Nedocromil (Alocril).
- Immunotherapy: This is a technique which is meticulously timed with incremental increase of the exposure to allergens such as pollens and dust mites. It aims to train the body’s immune system not to react to these allergy-causing chemicals. This therapy is resorted to when other treatments don’t work. It works particularly well for asthma.
(a). Shots: Injections are given as chain of shots like once or twice a week for 3-6 months, followed by more staggered maintenance shots continuing for 3-5years. Side-effects may occur as irritation at the injection site, and as congestion and sneezing. Occasionally, anaphylaxis, a life-threatening reaction with swelling in the throat and breathing problems also may occur.
(b). Sublingual Immunotherapy: It involves placing a tablet beneath your tongue allowing for its absorption for mitigating runny nose, congestion, irritation and signs of hay fever.
(c). Epinephrine shots: Also a good medicine for allergies, these treat effectively Anaphylaxis, a life-threatening syndrome.