Allergy Medications

sinus-daisy

Medication is the most common way to deal with allergies. It is important to understand how the different types of medications work and when to use them. There are six basic types of medications to control your allergies:

Antihistamines: There are many types of prescription and over-the-counter antihistamines, like Claritin™, Benadryl™, Allegra™, Clarinex™ or Zyrtec™. Antihistamines should be used as needed to control allergy symptoms such as itchiness, congestion, drainage and sneezing. They have no long-term benefit so should not be taken when you’re not suffering from allergy symptoms. Aside from oral medications, some antihistamines may be applied directly to your eyes (such as Pataday™ and Optivar™) to control itchy and watery eyes, or sprayed into the nose (like Astelin™ or Astepro™) to address nasal itchiness and congestion. Antihistamines may also be used preventively when you are at risk of allergen exposure.

Corticosteroid Nasal Sprays such as Nasonex™, Flonase™, Fluticasone, Veramyst™, Omnaris™, Nasacort™, as well as others may be used daily to reduce the swelling in your nose. These nasal sprays must be used everyday in order to be effective, since the benefit from these nasal corticosteroids takes 1-2 weeks. Side effects are minimal since the steroid has little penetration into the blood stream and they are not addicting.

Salt water (Saline) Nasal Sprays, which are available over-the-counter (Nedipot™, Ayr spray™, Ocean Spray™), are an excellent, safe way to keep your sinuses clean and rinse your sinuses of trapped mucous. They, too, are not addicting and may be used safely throughout the day.

Antileukotrienes: Antileukotrienes (Singulair™) block the late phase allergy response, which occurs several hours later and causes congestion and runny nose. Asthmatics may use these medications to control their attacks. Antileukotrienes must be used on a daily basis to be effective.

Nasal & Oral Decongestants like pseudoephedrine (Sudafed™) and phenylpropanolamine are available primarily over-the-counter and may also be considered for temporary relief of nasal congestion. However, patients with high blood pressure, enlarged prostate, or heart problems should consult with the physicians at Metairie Sinus & Snoring before using decongestants. Some decongestants may be combined to reduce the number of pills and are often given the suffix “-D” such as Claritin-D™, Allegra-D™. Other combination decongestant products include Tylenol–Sinus™ or Advil Cold and Sinus™.

Corticosteroid Nasal Sprays such as Nasonex™, Flonase™, Fluticasone, Veramyst™, Omnaris™, Nasacort™, as well as others may be used daily to reduce the swelling in your nose. These nasal sprays must be used everyday in order to be effective, since the benefit from these nasal corticosteroids takes 1-2 weeks. Side effects are minimal since the steroid has little penetration into the blood stream and they are not addicting.

Allergy

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