Which Allergies Can Allergy Shots Treat
Allergy shots cant treat all allergies, but they can help those with allergies to several different pollens including grasses, trees, and weeds. They are also beneficial for molds, house dust mites, cockroaches and pet dander.
If you have general insect allergies, including an allergy to yellow jackets, hornets, wasps, bees or fire ant, allergy shots could also be a good option.
If you struggle with seasonal allergies, talk to your doctor or allergist about immunotherapy injections.
How Long Will It Take For My Allergy Medication To Work
When youre experiencing allergy symptoms, you want to feel better and fast. But because each product works differently and treats specific symptoms, its important that you select one that will help you the most.
If youre looking for fast congestion relief, oral decongestants can start working in 15 to 30 minutes and nasal sprays can start alleviating congestion right away.
Antihistamines usually start working within 1 to 2 hours, depending on the product youre taking. You can also find antihistamine nasal sprays, like Astelin , that work in as little as 15 minutes.
Nasal steroids, on the other hand, take the longest to provide a benefit sometimes a few weeks. Thats why theyre better for symptom prevention instead of treating symptoms as they happen.
Zyrtec Vs Claritin: Side Effects And Interactions
Claritin is unlikely to cause CNS side effects such as sedation, or confusion when used at dosages of 10mg/day. Side effects may be more likely when used at higher dosages. Zyrtec is 3.5 times more likely than Claritin to cause sedation, particularly when used at dosages higher than 10mg/day. However, Zyrtec is still much less sedating than older antihistamines such as promethazine.
Side effects are generally mild with second-generation antihistamines and include a headache and rarely dry mouth, and nausea. All the second generation antihistamines currently on the market appear free from adverse cardiovascular effects. Few major interactions have been reported with either Zyrtec or Claritin however, there is the possibility that side effects such as sedation, confusion, and mental alertness may be enhanced if given with other drugs with this side effect. More studies are needed to determine if there are any interactions between second generation antihistamines and herbal products or food. Always speak with your doctor of pharmacist before using any drugs in combination.
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What Antihistamine Is Right For You
You can buy many different brands and forms of antihistamines without a prescription.
- Some work for only 4 to 6 hours, while others last for 12 to 24 hours.
- Some are combined with a decongestant, a drug that dries up your nasal passages.
Ask your health care provider what type of antihistamine and what exact dosage is right for you or your child. Make sure you understand how much to use and how many times a day to use it. Be sure to read the label carefully. Or ask your pharmacist if you have questions.
- Some antihistamines cause less sleepiness than others. These include cetirizine , desloratadine , fexofenadine , and loratadine .
- Do not drink alcohol when you are taking antihistamines.
- Store antihistamines at room temperature, away from heat, direct light, and moisture.
- Do not freeze antihistamines.
- Keep all medicines where children cannot reach them.
What Can You Do About Drowsiness From Allergy Medicines
Some antihistamines are less likely to cause drowsiness than others. Reactions vary considerably from one person to another. What relieves your symptoms without making you sleepy may be different from what works for someone else.
When you find one that works for you, stick with it check chemical ingredients and dosages before changing brands or generics. On the other hand, if one doesnt work for you, try another type.
First-generation antihistamines such as diphenhydramine usually cause drowsiness because they are less likely to affect the histamine produced in the brain or have other unwanted effects in the brain.
Newer, second-generation antihistamines such as cetirizine , fexofenadine and loratadine marketed as nonsedating usually cause less drowsiness. An added benefit is that second-generation antihistamines last longer than Benadryl. Allegra is generally the least sedating.
Nasal spray antihistamines are also somewhat less likely to make you sleepy, since they target nasal passages directly rather than sending medicine throughout your body in the bloodstream. These are available only by prescription.
Regular use of an intranasal corticosteroid is not only safe but also an effective way to reduce use of antihistamines. They take a few days to start working, so you need to be patient. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about using an antihistamine with an intranasal corticosteroid the first few days. Some intranasal corticosteroids are available over-the-counter.
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Allegra Vs Claritin: What Is The Difference
Antihistamines, or allergy medicines, come in all shapes and sizes. Nearly all are now available over the counter . With so many choices currently available, you may wonder what the differences are among them.
Antihistamines fall into two categories: first-generation antihistamines and second-generation antihistamines. First-generation antihistamines are older products that are shorter acting and are more likely to cause drowsiness, dizziness, and other side effects. Second-generation antihistamines were introduced in the 1990s and have minimal or no sedating side effects. These newer drugs are also longer acting and are generally dosed once a day. Allegra and Claritin fall into the category of second-generation antihistamines. The following is a comparison between the two.
Prescribed an allergy medication? Dont pay full price.
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What Is Immunotherapy Is It The Same As Allergy Shots
Immunotherapy refers to treatment and management plans that train the immune system to act differently than it normally would. For example, treating your immune system not to react to allergens.
There are multiple types of immunotherapy used for allergies. Subcutaneous immunotherapy refers to immunotherapy that is done under the skin, via a shot. Subcutaneous immunotherapy, then, is another term for allergy shots. SCIT is a long-term treatment designed to reduce the severity of symptoms for allergy sufferers. For some, their allergies may even stop completely. This type of immunotherapy is considered the gold standard for allergy treatment.
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Preventing Allergy Symptoms: Environmental Control And Allergy Shots
While medicines are important, donât forget about environmental control. If you can limit your exposure to an allergen, you can prevent or dampen your bodyâs allergic reaction.
âI think too many allergists donât bother talking to patients about environmental control,â says Bernstein. âThey donât give their patients enough credit and just prescribe them medicines.â Bernstein says that environmental control should be a crucial part of treatment.
Donât wait until after allergy symptoms start before making changes to your environment and behavior. As the pollen season approaches, get in the habit of keeping your windows closed. In the spring, install your air conditioners early, since theyâre ideal for filtering the outside air that comes into your home.
While most allergy treatments are only temporary fixes, allergy shots — or immunotherapy — can offer a more or less permanent solution. By exposing your body to regular, small doses of an allergen — by injections under the skin — your immune system can learn to cope without triggering an allergic reaction. Gradually, the doses are increased. Eventually — and in most cases — even a large amount of the allergen wonât cause allergy symptoms.
Be Smart Be Aware Of Allergy Medication Side Effects
Smart use of allergy medications knowing how they treat symptoms, being aware of potential unwanted side effects and, most important, monitoring their effect on you and your health is just one step toward controlling allergy and cold symptoms. Even more important: knowing what you are allergic to and taking steps to prevent or reduce exposure.
If your allergy symptoms tend to last longer than two weeks or are not adequately controlled with over-the-counter medications, schedule an appointment with a board-certified allergist for a full diagnosis.
Antihistamines and intranasal corticosteroids are intended for symptom relief. If antihistamines or intranasal corticosteroids are causing side effects such as drowsiness or other problems, there are other treatment options your doctor can offer you, such as allergen immunotherapy.
Reviewed by Dennis Williams, PharmD
8229 Boone Blvd, Suite 260, Vienna, VA 22182
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When Do Antihistamines Expire
Antihistamines, one of the main types of allergy medicine, can be safe to use after the expiration date.
For over-the-counter medicines like Claritin and Zyrtec, the listed expiration dates are typically around two and a half years after manufacturing. Expiration dates for prescription antihistamines are around one year, according to New Jersey-based pharmacist Kristin Frank.
OTC and prescription tablets are similar in makeup, and therefore can last the same amount of time. But prescriptions, , cannot have longer than one-year expiration dates.
All allergy medicines are regulated by the FDA, which takes a strict, no-leeway stance on expired medicine for utmost safety and effectiveness. But a 2012 study in the JAMA Internal Medicine Journal found that expired medicines, including antihistamines, can remain effective for decades.
The researchers studied the active ingredients in a set of decades-old drugs. Twelve of the 14 medications tested, including the antihistamine, retained full potency for at least 28 years. So why do antihistamines have a one-to-two-year shelf life?
According to Frank, manufacturers suggest expiration dates based on how long the active ingredients can stay potent. Manufacturers submit this research, which factors in storage variables like heat and humidity, when applying for drug approval to the FDA.
Talking With Your Doctor
The best antihistamine choice for any one person is based on the degree of symptom relief desired and the degree of side effects you’re willing to tolerate.
For mild to moderate allergy symptoms, Allegra may be preferable to drugs such as Zyrtec since these other drugs are more sedating. Yet for severe symptoms that are interfering with work, school, or play, a medication such as Zyrtec may be needed.
Note that every person is different. This means that despite what studies say, there are many people who do not experience any fatigue on Zyrtec or Xyzal. Likewise, there are people who do experience fatigue on Allegra.
It’s sometimes helpful to try different medications to see which works best for you as an individual. If you try this, though, talk with your doctor first.
You might keep a journal to get an objective measure of which drug works best. For instance, you can write down your most annoying symptoms, and rank them from 1 to 10 based on how well they are controlled by different medications.
Talk with an allergist about the possibility of allergy testing and allergy shots. While allergy shots require more follow-up they can sometimes cure allergies so that medications are no longer needed. In addition, it’s thought that allergy shots may sometimes help prevent the development of new allergies.
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How Much Do Allegra And Claritin Cost
Allegra and Claritin are both available OTC without a prescription. As of the time this article, the average retail cost for 30 fexofenadine 180 mg tablets is about $15. The average retail cost for 30 loratadine 10 mg tablets is about $11.
If your insurance does not cover Allegra or Claritin because they are available OTC, you can use the ScriptSave WellRx discount card for the best prescription savings at a pharmacy near you.
Rosanna Sutherby is a freelance medical writer who has been a practicing pharmacist in her community for close to 20 years. She obtained her Doctor of Pharmacy from Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. She utilizes her clinical training in the pharmacy, where she helps patients manage disease states such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and many others. Dr. Sutherby reviews and recommends drug regimens based on patients concurrent conditions and potential drug interactions.
When Is It Time To Try A Different Allergy Medication
Its not unusual for people to say their medication has worn off midway through allergy season. Many people believe its because theyve developed a tolerance to their regimen, but this is most likely not the case, as its not common for people to develop a resistance to these medications.
So then why is your allergy medication suddenly not working as well? Well, there are several possible reasons, including a change to the type of pollen in the environment, your body developing a new allergy, and changes to your stress levels. Its also possible youre not using your medication correctly, especially when it comes to nasal sprays, which take some practice to use properly.
But if you know youre using your medication appropriately, youve lowered your stress levels, and youre taking steps to avoid being exposed to pollen and other allergens, then it might be time to change medications. Sometimes, all you need to do is try another medication within the same class, such as switching from Claritin to Allegra or changing from Flonase to Nasacort. If that doesnt seem to help, its time to see your primary care provider or an allergy specialist.
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What Is The Best Allergy Medication
The best choice of allergy medication is one which relieves symptoms without interfering with everyday tasks. Many allergy sufferers are finding that the newer, non-sedating antihistamines meet both these important parameters. It’s also important to find an allergy medication that can safely be used for the long term, since for many, allergies last an entire season if not the entire year. And finally, allergy medications should minimally react with other medications.
How Allergy Drugs Work
Much of the confusion regarding the loss of a drug effect stems from the misuse of the terms “immunity” and “resistance.”
Immunity is the body’s defense against a harmful substance. Resistance describes the process wherein a bacteria, virus, or other disease-causing agent changes and is able to overcome the effects of the drug. Neither of these processes applies to changes in how certain allergy medications work.
With an allergy, the immune system overreacts to an otherwise harmless substance and floods the body with a chemical known as histamine. The main function of histamine is to trigger inflammation, the body’s natural response to injury. It does so by dilating blood vessels so that immune cells can get closer to the site of an injury or infection.
In the absence of injury or infection, histamine can trigger an array of adverse symptoms, including itching, rash, sneezing, runny nose, stomach ache, nausea, and vomiting. Allergy medications are used to counter these effects because they are able to block the inflammatory process.
In none of these instances does a substance mutate or the immune system alters its natural response. What happens instead is that the body develops a tolerance to the drug, particularly if overused.
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Is There Anyone Who Should Not Take Zyrtec
Zyrtec is safe for most people, but there are some populations that should stay away from it. Children under 2, anyone with a history of allergic reaction to Zyrtec or hydroxyzine/piperazine derivatives, and people with severe renal impairment are all people who probably shouldnât take Zyrtec, says Dr. Patel. For people with these conditions, Zyrtec can cause adverse health effects.
If you are pregnant and breastfeeding, Dr. Patel recommends speaking to your doctor before using it, since some women have experienced side effects. Dr. Eitches suggests taking it with caution if youâre on other medications or take some kind of sleeping aid to help you go to bed.
When in doubt, itâs best to go to your doctor with any questions before you take Zyrtec as an allergy medicine. All things considered though, youre likely to be fine when using Zyrtec, as side effects arent terribly common, Boomershine notes. Still, itâs best to be aware of potential Zyrtec side effectsespecially if youâre planning on popping the stuff on the reg over the next few months.
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When Should You Start Taking Allergy Medications To Best Prevent Seasonal Allergies
Because people with seasonal allergies only have symptoms at certain times of the year, it is typical for them to only use medications during those times. But for best results, its important to start your preventative medication before allergy season begins.
Its best to start your daily allergy medications about 2 weeks before you would typically begin having symptoms . This gives your body time to adjust to the medications and experience the preventative benefits of them. If you have spring allergies, you might need to start your daily medications in early February, depending on where you live. If you have fall allergies, you might have to begin your routine in late July.
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Liquid Allergy Medicine And Nasal Sprays Expire Earlier
While most antihistamines are tablets, corticosteroids are in liquid form, and used to treat symptoms like itchy noses, sneezing, and nasal congestion.
Corticosteroid nasal sprays can be over-the-counter, like Flonase, or by prescription, like Nasonex. They contain preservatives to keep the liquids fresh longer.
Prescription liquid medicine expiration dates are no longer than one year, , although sometimes the manufacturer sets the shelf life at six months or earlier. Expiration dates for over-the-counter liquids are usually around two years.
And liquid allergy medicines shouldnt be stretched as far beyond their expiration dates as tablets, Frank says.
Frank says nasal sprays, as well as liquid forms of antihistamines, can last for one year beyond the bottles expiration date. After that, the efficacy dwindles. Like tablets, these drugs wont be unsafe when expired, Frank says. They will just become ineffective.
To extend the potency of liquid drugs like nasal sprays, Frank suggests keeping them at room temperature. Storing in a room thats too warm, in sunlight, or colder like a refrigerator would make it go bad faster, she says.