May 3, 2023

Common Allergy Medicines You Need To Know About

Dealing with allergies can be frustrating and uncomfortable, but knowing about the common allergy medicines at your disposal can make life much easier. This blog will explore various options available to treat symptoms of allergies such as antihistamines, decongestants, nasal steroids and more.

Whether you're dealing with seasonal allergies or battling eczema, learning about these medications is crucial for finding relief from itchy eyes to sneezing fits.

Key Takeaways

  • Allergies are caused by an immune system overreaction to harmless substances, triggering symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes.
  • Common allergy medicines include antihistamines, decongestants, nasal corticosteroids, leukotriene modifiers, immunotherapy and alternative approaches.
  • Over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription-strength medications are available for allergies with each having its benefits and drawbacks. It's important to consult with a healthcare provider when selecting and using allergy medications due to potential side effects or interactions with other medications.
  • Understanding how each medication works is crucial in determining the best option for alleviating specific symptoms. Antihistamines block histamine production; nasal corticosteroids reduce inflammation in the nasal passages while leukotriene modifiers block chemicals responsible for causing asthma symptoms. Immunotherapy is a long-term treatment that desensitizes the body’s immune response through exposure therapy via injections or tablets.

Understanding Allergies And Allergy Medicines

Allergies are caused by the immune system's overreaction to harmless substances, triggering symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes, which can be alleviated using various allergy medicines including antihistamines, decongestants, nasal corticosteroids, leukotriene modifiers, immunotherapy and alternative approaches.

Common Allergy Symptoms

Allergies can manifest in various ways, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Common allergy symptoms include sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, itchy eyes and ears, watery eyes, redness or swelling of the skin, hives, rashes, and even difficulty breathing in more severe cases.

For example, seasonal allergies like hay fever often bring about symptoms such as congestion and itchy eyes when exposed to pollen from trees or grasses. Food allergies might cause digestive issues like nausea or vomiting while also triggering skin rash flare-ups.

Understanding these common allergy symptoms is crucial for determining appropriate treatment options and improving overall quality of life for those affected by allergic reactions.

Types Of Allergy Medications

There are several types of allergy medications available to treat various types of allergies. The most common type is antihistamines, which work by blocking the release of histamine in response to allergens.

They come in both over-the-counter and prescription strengths, with some options being sedating while others are non-drowsy. Another type is decongestants, which can provide relief from nasal congestion caused by allergies.

Nasal corticosteroids, available only through a prescription, reduce inflammation in the nasal passages to relieve symptoms such as sneezing and runny nose. For those with severe or persistent allergies, immunotherapy may also be an option to help build long-term tolerance to allergens.

Over-the-counter Vs Prescription Medications

Allergy sufferers have a wide range of options when it comes to choosing allergy medications. Over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medicines are available for allergies, each with its benefits and drawbacks.

OTC medicines are readily accessible without the need for a prescription, making them convenient for people who experience mild or occasional allergy symptoms. Some common OTC allergy medicines include cetirizine, loratadine, fexofenadine, diphenhydramine and doxylamine.

On the other hand, prescription-strength medications contain higher dosages and may be more effective at treating severe allergic reactions such as asthma and skin rash conditions like eczema.

Overall, both types of allergy medicine can provide relief from bothersome symptoms but identifying one's specific needs is crucial in determining which treatment option works best for them.

Types Of Common Allergy Medicines

Antihistamines, decongestants, nasal corticosteroids, leukotriene modifiers, immunotherapy, and alternative/complementary approaches are the most common types of allergy medicines available.


Antihistamines are among the most commonly used allergy medications. They work by blocking histamine, a chemical that is produced during allergic reactions and causes symptoms like itching, sneezing, and runny nose.

There are both over-the-counter and prescription antihistamines available in different forms such as pills, syrups or nasal sprays. Some common examples of OTC antihistamines include loratadine (Claritin), cetirizine (Zyrtec), fexofenadine (Allegra) while prescription options include levocetirizine (Xyzal) or desloratadine (Clarinex).

Nonsedating antihistamines reduce uncomfortable side effects that can cause drowsiness but some may still experience slightly sedated along with other side effects including dry mouth and headache.

It’s important to note that taking multiple drugs or consuming alcohol may increase these side effects.


Decongestants are a type of medicine that can provide relief for nasal congestion caused by allergies. They work by narrowing the blood vessels in the lining of the nose, reducing swelling and making it easier to breathe.

Some common decongestants include pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine, which are available as pills or nasal sprays. While effective at providing short-term relief, decongestants should be used with caution as they can have side effects like increased heart rate and raise blood pressure.

It's important to note that while decongestants can help relieve allergy symptoms, they won't treat other symptoms such as sneezing or itching eyes. Antihistamines or nasal corticosteroids may be more effective for those types of symptoms.

Nasal Corticosteroids

Nasal corticosteroids are a class of prescription allergy medicines used to relieve nasal and eye allergy symptoms. These medications work by reducing inflammation in the nose and sinus passages, which can alleviate congestion, sneezing, itchiness, and runny nose.

Some examples of nasal corticosteroids include Flonase (fluticasone), Nasacort (triamcinolone), Rhinocort (budesonide) and Nasonex (mometasone). While these medications are generally safe when taken as prescribed, they may cause side effects such as dryness or irritation in the nose or throat.

It is important to speak with a healthcare provider about any potential interactions with other medications before taking them.

Leukotriene Modifiers

Leukotriene modifiers are a type of medication used to treat allergy symptoms by blocking the leukotrienes, which are chemicals produced in the body during an allergic reaction.

These medicines mainly target asthma and have been found to be effective against some other allergy symptoms as well. Montelukast, zafirlukast, and zileuton are all examples of leukotriene modifiers that can help reduce inflammation in the airways and improve breathing for people with asthma.


Immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots, is a type of treatment for allergies that works by gradually exposing the patient to small amounts of the allergen over time. This helps the immune system build up tolerance to the allergen and reduces symptoms over time.

Immunotherapy is typically used for patients with severe allergies or those who do not respond well to other treatments. It can take several months or even years of regular injections before noticeable improvement in symptoms occurs, but studies have shown it can be effective in reducing allergy symptoms long-term.

Alternative And Complementary Approaches

For those who prefer a more natural or holistic approach to managing their allergies, there are several alternative and complementary medicines that can be used in conjunction with traditional allergy medications.

These include herbal remedies like butterbur, quercetin, and nettle extract which have been shown to reduce inflammation and provide relief for some allergy sufferers. Acupuncture is another option that has been found to help alleviate symptoms by stimulating the body's natural healing response.

Additionally, incorporating a healthy diet and lifestyle changes such as reducing exposure to allergens can also aid in reducing allergy symptoms.

How Allergy Medicines Work

Allergy medicines work by targeting the body's immune response to allergens, but understanding their mechanisms of action can help you choose the best option for your symptoms.

Mechanisms Of Action

Allergy medicines work in different ways to alleviate allergy symptoms. Antihistamines, for example, block the effects of histamine, a chemical produced by the body that contributes to allergic reactions.

By blocking these effects, antihistamines can relieve symptoms such as sneezing, itching and runny nose caused by seasonal allergies.

Decongestants also help to alleviate congestion but work by constricting blood vessels in the nose and reducing swelling.

Immunotherapy is a long-term treatment option that works by desensitizing the body's immune response over time through exposure therapy via injections or tablets. It helps reduce sensitivity towards specific allergens like pollen or dust mites that cause allergic reactions.

Benefits And Limitations

Allergy medications can offer great relief to those suffering from allergies, but they do come with limitations and potential side effects. Antihistamines, for example, can provide quick relief from symptoms like sneezing and itching, but may also cause drowsiness in some people.

Nonsedating antihistamines are now available which provide the same benefits without the sedation effect.

It's important to keep in mind that not all allergy medicines work for everyone and finding the right one may require a process of trial and error. Some medicines may also interact with other medications or health conditions, so it's essential to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new treatment plan.

Possible Side Effects

There are possible side effects that might occur when taking allergy medicines. These include:

  1. Drowsiness: Some antihistamines can make you feel sleepy or drowsy.
  2. Dry mouth, nose or throat: Antihistamines can reduce the amount of saliva and mucus in your body, causing dryness.
  3. Nausea and vomiting: Some people may experience stomach upset, nausea or vomiting after taking allergy medicines.
  4. Headache: It is possible to experience headaches as a side effect of some allergy medications.
  5. Restlessness or agitation: High doses of some antihistamines may cause feelings of restlessness or agitation.
  6. Skin reactions: Nasal corticosteroids can cause irritation, itching, redness and swelling on the skin.
  7. Nosebleeds: Nasal corticosteroids also have the potential to increase your risk of nosebleeds.

It is important to consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new allergy medication and report any side effects that you may experience during treatment.

How To Choose The Right Allergy Medicine

To find the best allergy medicine for you, consider your specific symptoms, possible side effects and interactions with other medications, age and health condition, and consult with a healthcare provider - read on to learn more about choosing the right allergy medicine.

Identifying Your Allergy Symptoms

To choose the right allergy medicine, it's crucial to identify your allergy symptoms accurately. For example, if you have a runny nose and sneezing without itching or eye involvement, an oral antihistamine such as cetirizine or loratadine may be effective.

Additionally, if you suffer from seasonal allergies during spring and fall or perennial allergies throughout the year triggered by dust mites and pet dander, using nasal corticosteroids such as fluticasone propionate or mometasone furoate is highly recommended.

Considering Potential Side Effects And Interactions

When choosing the right allergy medicine, it's important to consider potential side effects and interactions. Some medications may cause drowsiness or other unwanted side effects, while others may interact with other medications you're taking.

For example, some antihistamines can interact with certain antidepressants, causing increased drowsiness and confusion.

It's always important to read medication labels carefully and talk to your healthcare provider about any concerns or questions you may have. They can help you choose the right medication based on your individual needs and medical history.

Additionally, keeping a record of any reactions or side effects from past medications can be helpful in guiding future treatment options.

Age And Health Condition Considerations

It is important to consider age and health conditions when choosing an allergy medication. For example, some antihistamines can cause drowsiness in older adults and those with certain health conditions such as liver or kidney disease.

In these cases, non-sedating antihistamines may be a better option.

Additionally, children and pregnant women should consult with their healthcare provider before taking any allergy medications.

Overall, it is crucial to review the list of ingredients and potential side effects before taking any allergy medicine, regardless of age or health condition.

Consulting With A Healthcare Provider

It is important to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new allergy medication, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are taking other medications.

They can help identify potential drug interactions and recommend the best treatment options for your specific needs.

In addition, they can also guide you through the proper dosage instructions and monitor any side effects that may occur. It's worth noting that some prescription allergy medications, such as immunotherapy shots, require ongoing monitoring by a healthcare professional.

Tips For Taking Allergy Medications

Follow the dosage instructions carefully when taking allergy medications to avoid side effects or harmful interactions with other medications.

Following Dosage Instructions

It is essential to follow the dosage instructions when taking allergy medications. Overdosing can cause adverse side effects, while underdosing will not provide adequate relief for your allergy symptoms.

Always read and follow the label instructions carefully before taking any medicine. For liquid medicines, use a measuring cup or spoon instead of guessing the amount to avoid overdose.

If you're unsure about how much medication to take or have questions about potential interactions with other drugs you're taking, consult with your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

They can also advise you on using various forms of allergy medicine effectively and addressing possible side effects if they arise.

Being Aware Of Interactions With Other Medications

It is important to be aware of potential interactions with other medications when taking allergy medicines. Many common drugs, including antidepressants, blood pressure medications, and some antibiotics, can interact with antihistamines or nasal corticosteroids and cause unwanted side effects.

For example, combining certain types of antihistamines with sedatives or alcohol can increase drowsiness and impair coordination.

In addition to potential drug interactions, it's crucial to use caution when driving or operating heavy machinery while taking allergy medicine. Some antihistamines may cause drowsiness or affect reflexes.

To minimize these risks, it's recommended that patients read all labels carefully and follow dosing instructions precisely. If in doubt about which medication is safest for you based on your medical history and current prescriptions list, consult a doctor or pharmacist for guidance before starting any new treatment plan.

Avoiding Allergy Triggers

In addition to taking allergy medications, avoiding triggers is an important step in managing allergies. Allergy triggers can vary depending on the individual and the type of allergy they have, but common triggers include pollen, pet dander, dust mites, mold spores, and certain foods.

Some tips for avoiding these triggers include keeping windows closed during peak pollen season, using air purifiers or HEPA filters indoors, regularly washing bedding in hot water to kill dust mites, and avoiding eating foods that trigger allergic reactions.

It's also important to be mindful of outdoor activities during high pollen counts and to shower after spending time outside to remove any allergens from your skin and hair.


If you're exhausted and frustrated by the constant battle against allergies, Curex might offer a solution. Say goodbye to the time-consuming allergy shots and embrace a convenient alternative. With Curex, you can now administer allergy treatment through sublingual immunotherapy in the comfort of your own home. This safe and effective service will not only help you manage your allergies but also enhance your overall quality of life. Bid farewell to allergy symptoms and embrace a life of full enjoyment with Curex.

Read more