Allergy medications: Know your alternatives

Various varieties of medications are utilized to treat allergy indicators. This is extra facts.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Allergy medications are offered as products, liquids, inhalers, nasal sprays, eyedrops, skin creams and shots (injections). Some are offered in excess of-the-counter other people are offered by prescription only. This is a summary of the varieties of allergy medications and why they are utilized.


Antihistamines block histamine, a symptom-triggering chemical launched by your immune technique through an allergic reaction.

Products and liquids

Oral antihistamines are offered in excess of-the-counter and by prescription. They ease a runny nose, itchy or watery eyes, hives, inflammation, and other signs or indicators of allergic reactions. Because some of these medicine can make you truly feel drowsy and tired, acquire them with warning when you need to have to travel or do other activities that require alertness.

Antihistamines that are inclined to lead to drowsiness incorporate:

  • Diphenhydramine
  • Chlorpheniramine

These antihistamines are significantly significantly less likely to lead to drowsiness:

  • Cetirizine (Zyrtec, Zyrtec Allergy)
  • Desloratadine (Clarinex)
  • Fexofenadine (Allegra, Allegra Allergy)
  • Levocetirizine (Xyzal, Xyzal Allergy)
  • Loratadine (Alavert, Claritin)

Nasal sprays

Antihistamine nasal sprays enable relieve sneezing, itchy or runny nose, sinus congestion, and postnasal drip. Facet outcomes of antihistamine nasal sprays could possibly incorporate a bitter style, drowsiness or feeling tired. Prescription antihistamine nasal sprays incorporate:

  • Azelastine (Astelin, Astepro)
  • Olopatadine (Patanase)


Antihistamine eyedrops, offered in excess of-the-counter or by prescription, can ease itchy, purple, swollen eyes. These drops could possibly have a mix of antihistamines and other medications.

Facet outcomes could possibly incorporate headache and dry eyes. If antihistamine drops sting or melt away, test keeping them in the refrigerator or employing refrigerated artificial-tear drops right before you use them. Illustrations incorporate:

  • Ketotifen (Alaway, Zaditor)
  • Olopatadine (Pataday, Patanol, Pazeo)
  • Pheniramine and naphazoline (Visine, Opcon-A, other people)


Decongestants are utilized for rapid, temporary aid of nasal and sinus congestion. They can lead to difficulties sleeping, headache, greater blood strain and irritability. They are not proposed for persons with significant blood strain, cardiovascular disease, glaucoma or hyperthyroidism.

Products and liquids

Oral decongestants relieve nasal and sinus congestion triggered by hay fever (allergic rhinitis). A lot of decongestants, such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed), are offered in excess of-the-counter.

A range of oral allergy medications contain a decongestant and an antihistamine. Illustrations incorporate:

  • Cetirizine and pseudoephedrine (Zyrtec-D twelve Hour)
  • Desloratadine and pseudoephedrine (Clarinex-D)
  • Fexofenadine and pseudoephedrine (Allegra-D)
  • Loratadine and pseudoephedrine (Claritin-D)

Nasal sprays and drops

Nasal decongestant sprays and drops relieve nasal and sinus congestion if utilized only for a short time. Repeated use of these medicine for extra than three consecutive days may perhaps result in a cycle where by congestion recurs or receives even worse. Illustrations incorporate:

  • Oxymetazoline (Afrin)
  • Tetrahydrozoline (Tyzine)


Corticosteroids relieve indicators by suppressing allergy-connected inflammation.

Nasal sprays

Corticosteroid sprays avoid and relieve stuffiness, sneezing and runny nose. Facet outcomes can incorporate an disagreeable style, nasal discomfort and nosebleeds. Illustrations incorporate:

  • Budesonide (Rhinocort)
  • Fluticasone furoate (Flonase Sensimist)
  • Fluticasone propionate (Flonase Allergy Aid)
  • Mometasone (Nasonex)
  • Triamcinolone (Nasacort Allergy 24 Hour)

For persons who are bothered by the feeling of liquid jogging down their throats or the disagreeable style of these sprays, there are two aerosol formulas:

  • Beclomethasone (Qnasl)
  • Ciclesonide (Zetonna)


Inhaled corticosteroids are usually utilized day by day as component of treatment for bronchial asthma triggered or difficult by reactions to airborne allergy triggers (allergens). Facet outcomes are frequently minimal and can incorporate mouth and throat discomfort and oral yeast infections.

Some inhalers blend corticosteroids with lengthy-acting bronchodilators. Prescription inhalers incorporate:

  • Beclomethasone (Qvar Redihaler)
  • Budesonide (Pulmicort Flexhaler)
  • Ciclesonide (Alvesco)
  • Fluticasone (Flovent)
  • Mometasone (Asmanex Twisthaler)


Corticosteroid eyedrops are utilized to relieve persistent itchy, purple or watery eyes when other interventions are not powerful. A health practitioner specializing in eye diseases (ophthalmologist) ordinarily displays the use of these drops simply because of the hazard of difficulties, such as cataracts, glaucoma and an infection. Illustrations incorporate:

  • Fluorometholone (Flarex, FML)
  • Loteprednol (Alrex, Lotemax)
  • Prednisolone (Omnipred, Pred Forte, other people)

Products and liquids

Oral corticosteroids are utilized to treat intense indicators triggered by all varieties of allergic reactions. Lengthy-term use can lead to cataracts, osteoporosis, muscle mass weak spot, tummy ulcers, greater blood sugar (glucose) and delayed advancement in children. Oral corticosteroids can also worsen significant blood strain.

Prescription oral corticosteroids incorporate:

  • Prednisolone (Prelone)
  • Prednisone (Prednisone Intensol, Rayos)
  • Methylprednisolone (Medrol)

Pores and skin creams

Corticosteroid creams relieve allergic skin reactions such as itching, redness or scaling. Some reduced-efficiency corticosteroid creams are offered devoid of a prescription, but communicate to your health care provider right before employing these medicine for extra than a handful of weeks.

Facet outcomes can incorporate skin discoloration and discomfort. Lengthy-term use, particularly of more robust prescription corticosteroids, can lead to thinning of the skin and abnormal hormone stages. Illustrations incorporate:

  • Betamethasone (Dermabet, Diprolene, other people)
  • Desonide (Desonate, DesOwen)
  • Hydrocortisone (Locoid, Micort-HC, other people)
  • Mometasone (Elocon)
  • Triamcinolone

Mast mobile stabilizers

Mast mobile stabilizers block the release of substances in the immune technique that contribute to allergic reactions. These medicine are frequently safe and sound but ordinarily need to have to be utilized for several days to generate the complete result. They are ordinarily utilized when antihistamines are not operating or not very well-tolerated.

Nasal spray

Around-the-counter nasal sprays incorporate cromolyn (Nasalcrom).


Prescription eyedrops incorporate the following:

  • Cromolyn (Crolom)
  • Lodoxamide (Alomide)
  • Nedocromil (Alocril)

Leukotriene inhibitors

A leukotriene inhibitor is a prescription treatment that blocks symptom-triggering substances known as leukotrienes. This oral treatment relieves allergy signs and indicators like nasal congestion, runny nose and sneezing. Only a person style of this drug, montelukast (Singulair), is authorized for treating hay fever.

In some persons, leukotriene inhibitors can lead to psychological indicators such as stress and anxiety, depression, peculiar dreams, difficulties sleeping, and suicidal considering or habits.

Allergen immunotherapy

Immunotherapy is meticulously timed and little by little greater exposure to allergens, particularly individuals that are tricky to keep away from, such as pollens, dust mites and molds. The intention is to coach the body’s immune technique not to react to these allergens.

Immunotherapy could possibly be utilized when other solutions are not powerful or tolerated. It is also useful in lowering bronchial asthma indicators in some individuals.


Immunotherapy may perhaps be given as a sequence of injections, ordinarily a person or two occasions a 7 days. The dose may perhaps be greater weekly or every single two weeks based on the patient’s tolerance. Injections of the optimum tolerated dose may perhaps then be given every single two to 4 weeks year spherical.

Facet outcomes could possibly incorporate discomfort at the injection web site and allergy indicators such as sneezing, congestion or hives. Almost never, allergy shots can lead to anaphylaxis, a unexpected lifetime-threatening reaction that will cause inflammation in the throat, issue respiration, and other signs and indicators.

Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT)

With this style of immunotherapy, you put an allergen-based tablet beneath your tongue (sublingual) and enable it to be absorbed. This treatment has been shown to lower runny nose, congestion, eye discomfort and other indicators related with hay fever. It also enhances bronchial asthma indicators.

Just one SLIT tablet has dust mites (Odactra). Various SLIT tablets contain extracts from pollens of different varieties of grass, like the following:

  • Brief ragweed (Ragwitek)
  • Sweet vernal, orchard, perennial rye, Timothy and Kentucky blue grass (Oralair)
  • Timothy grass (Grastek)

Organic medications

Some medications target a distinct reaction in the immune technique and test to avoid it from taking place. These medications are given as injections. They incorporate dupilumab (Dupixent) to treat allergic skin reactions and omalizumab (Xolair) to treat bronchial asthma or hives when other medications do not enable.

Facet outcomes of biological medications may perhaps incorporate redness, itchiness, or discomfort of the eyes and discomfort at the injection web site.

Unexpected emergency epinephrine shots

Epinephrine shots are utilized to treat anaphylaxis, a unexpected, lifetime-threatening reaction. The drug is administered with a self-injecting syringe and needle system (vehicle-injector). You could possibly need to have to carry two vehicle-injectors if you can find a opportunity you could have a intense allergic reaction to a certain foodstuff, such as peanuts, or if you’re allergic to bee or wasp venom.

A 2nd injection is from time to time necessary. As a result, it truly is essential to contact 911 or get speedy emergency medical treatment.

A health and fitness treatment qualified will coach you on how to use an epinephrine vehicle-injector. It can be essential to get the style that your health care provider prescribes, as the technique for injection may perhaps differ a bit for each individual brand. Also, be absolutely sure to change your emergency epinephrine right before the expiration date.

Illustrations of these medications incorporate:

  • Adrenaclick
  • Auvi-Q
  • EpiPen
  • EpiPen Jr

Get your doctor’s assistance

Perform with your health care provider to select the most powerful allergy medications and keep away from difficulties. Even in excess of-the-counter allergy medications have aspect outcomes, and some allergy medications can lead to difficulties when mixed with other medications.

It can be particularly essential to communicate to your health care provider about using allergy medications in the following instances:

  • You might be expecting or breast-feeding.
  • You have a long-term health and fitness affliction, such as diabetic issues, glaucoma, osteoporosis or significant blood strain.
  • You might be using other medications, like natural dietary supplements.
  • You might be treating allergic reactions in a little one. Small children need to have different doses of treatment or different medications from grownups.
  • You might be treating allergic reactions in an more mature adult. Some allergy medications can lead to confusion, urinary tract indicators or other aspect outcomes in more mature grownups.
  • You might be currently using an allergy treatment that is not operating. Deliver the treatment with you in its authentic bottle or package deal when you see your health care provider.

Retain keep track of of your indicators, when you use your medications and how significantly you use. This will enable your health care provider figure out what will work greatest. You could possibly need to have to test a handful of medications to establish which are most powerful and have the the very least bothersome aspect outcomes for you.