When All Else Fails For Allergy Relief
Sometimes, even the strongest immune system falls victim to seasonal allergies that leave a trail of mucus in their wake. When this happens, you may find the most surefire way to fight allergy symptoms is through good old-fashioned allergy medication, either prescription or over-the-counter. “The proper drugs can diminish and block the expression of allergic disease,” Mardiney said. “There’s a lot you can do for allergies.”
What Are The Most Common Drug Allergies
Anybody can be allergic to any drug. That includes prescription medications and ones you can get over the counter. Penicillin and other similar antibiotics are the drugs most people are allergic to. Other meds commonly found to cause allergic reactions include:
- Sulfa drugs
- Barbiturates, including mephobarbital and phenobarbital
- Anti-seizure drugs, including carbamazepine, chlorpromazine, ethosuximide, lamotrigine, phenytoin, and zonisamide
- Pain medications like aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, and codeine
- ACE Inhibitors including captopril, enalapril, fosinopril, and lisinopril
- Contrast dyes used in X-rays and MRIs
- Echinacea and other alternative and herbal medicines
What Is Rush Immunotherapy
Itâs a faster way to get to a maintenance dose, but itâs also riskier.
During the first part of the treatment, you get doses of the allergen every day instead of every few days. Your doctor will check on you closely, in case you have a bad reaction. In some cases, you may get medicine before you get the dose of the allergen, to help prevent a reaction.
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Which Type Is Best
There’s not much evidence to suggest any particular antihistamine is better than any other at relieving allergy symptoms.
Some people find certain types work well for them and others do not. You may need to try several types to find one that works for you.
Non-drowsy antihistamines are generally the best option, as they’re less likely to make you feel sleepy. But types that make you feel sleepy may be better if your symptoms stop you sleeping.
Ask a pharmacist for advice if you’re unsure which medicine to try as not all antihistamines are suitable for everyone.
How Are Antihistamines Classified
Antihistamines are divided into two major subtypes. The first subtype is called H-1 receptor antagonists or H-1 blockers. This subtype of antihistamines is used to treat allergy symptoms. The second subtype is called H-2 receptor antagonists or H-2 blockers. They are used to treat gastrointestinal conditions, including gastroesophageal reflux disease , peptic ulcers, gastritis, motion sickness, nausea and vomiting. The naming structure tells doctors and scientists the cell type the location of the histamine receptor that the antihistamine medication blocks.
The H-1 blocker subtype is further broken down into two groups first-generation antihistamines and second-generation antihistamines.
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Treating Severe Allergic Reactions
Some people with severe allergies may experience life-threatening reactions, known as anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock.
If you’re at risk of this, you’ll be given special injectors containing a medicine called adrenaline to use in an emergency.
If you develop symptoms of anaphylaxis, such as difficulty breathing, you should inject yourself in the outer thigh before seeking emergency medical help.
Causes Of Allergies To Medication
Any medication could cause an allergic reaction, but some are more likely to than others, including:
- aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- antibiotics penicillin and sulfonamide antibiotics
- chemotherapy drugs for treating cancer
- medication for autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis
- corticosteroid creams or lotions
- medication for people with human immunodeficiency virus infection
Of these types, the two that commonly cause allergic reactions are aspirin and similar pain-relieving medication, and sulfonamide antibiotics.
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What Allergy Medicines Can I Take If I Have High Blood Pressure
Although some allergy medicines affect your blood pressure or interact with your blood pressure medication, safe options for treating your allergy symptoms exist if you have high blood pressure.
Second-generation antihistamines that are not combined with decongestants are generally safe to use if you are not taking the blood pressure medicines listed in the drug interaction section above. Second-generation antihistamines include the following:
If your symptoms include nasal congestion, the following options are generally safe to use as decongestants:
- steroid nasal sprays, such as Flonase , Nasacort , and Rhinocort
- antihistamine nasal sprays, such as Astelin and Patanase
- saline nasal sprays or rinses, such as Ayr, Ocean, Simply Saline, or Neti Pot
Antihistamine eye drops, such as Pataday and Zaditor , are safe options for itchy watery eyes.
How Can I Be Prepared
If you know you have a drug allergy, memorize the name of that drug, both brand names and generic name. Tell all your health care providers before you get any type of treatment, including dental care.
Itâs also a good idea to carry a card or wear a special bracelet or pendant that identifies your allergy, in case of emergency.
Know what to do if you have an allergic reaction. If your doctor prescribes medication for emergencies, like an EpiPen, make sure you always carry two and you know how to use it.
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Medication And Functional Medicine
Talk to an AAPRI health care provider about the different treatment options we offer. Medication is an option, but most prescriptions are designed to relieve symptoms not fix the problem causing those symptoms. Thats why we offer immunotherapy treatment such as allergy shots or allergy drops. We can also suggest natural supplements that can mitigate symptoms without drowsiness. Thats also why we focus on functional medicine: we want to get to the root of the problem, not mask it.
How Effective Are They
Usually it is possible to find an antihistamine which keeps your symptoms controlled. Sometimes you may need to experiment and try more than one to find the one that works best for you. For hay fever, sometimes if the antihistamine tablet isn’t enough by itself, you may need eye drops and/or a nasal spray as well to completely sort out all your symptoms.
Antihistamines are generally more effective when taken constantly rather than intermittently. This is particularly applicable for people with hay fever . In the summer months the pollen count is generally higher and you may be in contact with the allergen on a regular basis. Taking the medication regularly may help keep your symptoms under control. Their effectiveness will also depend on the dose you take and what form the medicine is given in.
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Severe Allergic Reaction To Medication
Severe allergic reaction, also known as anaphylaxis, after taking a medication is life threatening. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction include:
- difficult or noisy breathing
- paleness and floppiness in young children
Milder allergic symptoms that can occur before a severe allergic reaction include:
- swelling of the lips, face, eyes
- hives or welts
- tingling mouth
- abdominal pain and vomiting
If you have experienced any of these symptoms after taking a medication, you are at greater risk of having another severe reaction when you take the same medication. Most people with these allergies are allergic to only one medication, but some people are allergic to more than one. You should ask your doctor to refer you to a medical specialist .If you are at risk of a severe allergic reaction, you should:
- have a severe allergic reaction action plan
- carry an adrenaline autoinjector to treat a severe allergic reaction
- wear medical identification jewellery this increases the likelihood that adrenaline will be administered in an emergency
- avoid medication that may increase the severity of allergic reaction or complicate its treatment such as beta blockers
- seek urgent medical assistance
Is It Safe To Take Zyrtec Every Day
Yep. “When taken in the recommended doses, antihistamines can be taken daily. This is especially true with Zyrtec, since it doesn’t show decreasing effectiveness if used daily,” says Sima Patel, MD, an allergist at New York Allergy & Sinus Centers.
Zyrtec and other allergy medicines currently on the market are known as second-generation antihistamines, and have fewer and less severe side effects than the “first generation” of allergy medications did. So though you might experience some side effects while on allergy medicine, they shouldn’t persist once you’ve stopped taking it.
Still, it’s probably worth holding off on medication that you don’t need, says Dr. Patel. So if you aren’t having allergy symptoms or they get milder during a certain time of the year, that’s probably a good time to take a Zyrtec break. “We always want the least amount of medication to control symptoms. However, starting allergy medications two weeks prior to your symptomatic season is best to help prevent symptoms,” Dr. Patel says.
Mild side effects may be totally normal, but if you’re experiencing severe side effects, or persistent ones that just won’t go away, it’s best to talk to your doctor before you continue regular use of Zyrtec to see if its right for you.
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Can You Take Antihistamines When Pregnant
Drug companies are naturally pretty reluctant to go around testing medicines on pregnant or breast-feeding women, so there aren’t any studies to guide them. They tend to advise against to be on the safe side, although there is no evidence they cause a problem. Discuss this with your doctor who will talk you through the options. If the benefits of treatment are thought to outweigh any possible risks, the one usually advised is loratadine.
What Steps Do I Need To Take For Signs Or Symptoms Of Anaphylaxis
- Immediately give 1 shot of epinephrine only into the outer thigh muscle.
- Leave the shot in place as directed. Your healthcare provider may recommend you leave it in place for up to 10 seconds before you remove it. This helps make sure all of the epinephrine is delivered.
- even if the shot improved symptoms. Do not drive yourself. Bring the used epinephrine shot with you.
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What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider
- What type of antihistamine would work best for me?
- How do I proper take the prescribed antihistamine?
- What side effects might occur with the recommended medication?
- What antihistamine wont interfere with the current medications I am taking?
- When, or for what conditions, does taking an antihistamine that would make me drowsy make sense?
- Can I live my life normally while using this medication? Can I drive? Can I operate heavy machinery?
- Can I take antihistamines if I am pregnant, planning to become pregnancy or am breastfeeding?
- Can antihistamines be safely given to my child?
- What are the consequences if I dont take an antihistamine to help with my allergies?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Histamine is on your side. The chemical does its best to regulate help your heart and lungs and protect your body from foreign allergens, among other roles. But it can be oversensitive, and it can overreact, and thats where antihistamines can help. If youre have allergies, stomach symptoms or any of the other conditions and symptoms mentioned in this article, talk to your healthcare provider about your options. Your symptoms may be able to be treated.
Always check with your healthcare provider and your pharmacist if you have concerns about antihistamines, and always follow the directions on the labels!
How Do I Know If I’m Using The Correct Allergy Treatment
Finding the right allergy treatment for your seasonal allergies is ultimately all about choosing the right treatment for you and your own needs.
Before you give up, make sure you are taking antihistamines and using nasal sprays correctly and diligently. If you think youre doing everything right and are getting nowhere, still dont give up! recommends Dr. Abdeldaim.
Ultimately, you know you have found the correct match for your symptoms and needs if the allergy treatment works and you start to feel better. And there is no better indicator than that!
Be sure to pay attention to your symptoms and your body, and see how things improve. Adjustments can always be made and Picnics team of doctors are available to readjust plans as needed.
Finding the right allergy treatment or combination of treatments can be an ongoing process, as allergies do change over time and can develop with age. Figuring out your allergy treatment plan will involve paying attention to how you feel from season to season, and making adjustments as necessary.
The best allergy treatment for you is related to finding out what causes your symptoms then, you can figure out the best way to get rid of them.
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Acknowledge The Importance Of Using Combination Treatments/medications
Often, the right answer for someones allergy treatment needs involves a combination of medications. In fact, studies have shown toolkitting, or a combination of treatments, shows positive results.
Combination therapy of histamine and leukotriene antagonists produces symptomatic improvement as well as improved quality of life, read one study about allergic rhinitis, a common condition where the nose becomes inflamed due to allergens.
Everyone experiences their allergies differently, which is why it is helpful to have a unique treatment that may be a combination of treatments that work for your own needs.
-Created in partnership with Picnic Allergy
Allergy Medicines And Hypertension
Allergy season is in full swing in many parts of the country. For some, that means battling symptoms, such as sneezing, congestion, runny nose, itching, and watery eyes. If you are among the over 50 million Americans who suffer from allergies each year, you may be headed to a pharmacy near you for relief of your allergy symptoms. Choosing allergy medication that is right for you may be tricky if you have hypertension . Read on to learn how some allergy medicines may affect your blood pressure and your blood pressure medication.
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Articles On Drug Allergies
You need your medicine to manage your health. They can make a huge difference in your life. But sometimes, people have an allergic reaction to a medicine.
When you have an allergy, your immune system mistakenly sees something thatâs harmless as an invader. Your body responds with certain chemicals, such as large amounts of histamine, to try to get rid of it.
If you think you have a drug allergy, tell your doctor. There may be another treatment you could try instead.
Can I Take Antihistamines If Im Pregnant Or Breastfeeding
Its safest to talk to your healthcare provider if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or are breastfeeding. Animal studies have shown that some antihistamines can cause birth defects. Small amounts of antihistamines pass on to your baby if you breastfeed. For these reasons your healthcare provider will want to talk with you and make careful choices if there is any concern for your or your childs safety.
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Fight Allergies With Meditation
Research has shown that high levels of stress can worsen existing allergies, possibly by upsetting the balance of substances in your body that control immune response. “If you’re under stress, allergies are going to be a bigger problem,” said Joseph Leija, MD, an allergist with Loyola University Health System in Chicago. Some studies have found that meditation has a positive effect on stress levels and can even reduce anxiety and pain. So go ahead and give it a try even if it doesn’t improve your allergy symptoms much, you’ll probably feel more relaxed, and that’s never a bad thing.
Your Plan Of Action For Allergy Relief
Now that youve got the information, its time to come up with a plan. Many people start with an over-the-counter nasal steroid spray, like Flonase. If you still have symptoms, add an oral antihistamine. This one-two punch often works well to knock out allergy symptoms.
If you still have symptoms, you can add eye drops and rinse your sinuses or eyes. If symptoms persist despite your medications, consider making an appointment with an allergist.
If you need an allergist, find one near you.
Millie Kwan, MD, PhD, is an allergist and assistant professor in the UNC Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology and a faculty member at the UNC Thurston Arthritis Research Center.
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What Is Allergy Pretreatment
Allergy pretreatment is simple: start taking your medicine a few weeks before the allergy season starts. While they might vary by a week or so from year to year, the pollen seasons are really quite predictable, says Hugh H. Windom, MD, associate clinical professor of immunology at the University of South Florida. So if you know the allergens that trigger your allergies, getting a jump on them should be easy.
âThe sooner you get on your medicine, the better,â Windom says. What type of medicine works best for pretreatment of allergies? That depends on your case.
âThereâs no ideal drug for preventing allergy symptoms,â Windom says. âChoosing the best drug depends a lot on what worked for you in the past.â
Any allergy medicine can work as pretreatment, more or less. Antihistamines are an excellent choice, experts say. Examples of over-the-counter antihistamines are Benadryl or Claritin. Prescription antihistamines, like the nasal spray Astelin, are another option. Other allergy medicines that work in different ways, such as steroids — like Flonase, Nasonex, or Veramyst — can also help.
What if you donât take the medicine before your symptoms start? Donât despair. âBeing off by a day or two is not a big deal,â Windom tells WebMD. âBut donât wait a whole week, since by then you might already have a cough, and congestion, or worse.â
If youâre pretreating every year, how will you know if youâve outgrown your allergies?