How to Select Over-the-Counter (OTC) Drugs for Allergy
Typically, there are four types of allergy medication – antihistamines, mast cell stabilizers, decongestants and topical corticosteroids.
You should opt for over-the-counter medication only when you have a mild allergy. Severe cases of allergy have to be referred to a doctor. Ask your doctor before starting a medication if you are suffering from any other ailments or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Antihistamines containing the active ingredients brompheniramine maleate (Dimetane) or chlorpheniramine maleate (Chlor-Trimeton) may have drug interactions with certain drugs like tranquilizers and sedatives.
Here’s a list of commonly available OTC drugs for allergy.
Antihistamines – Diphenhydramine (Benadryl), brompheniramine (Dimetane), chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton), loratadine (Tavist, Claritin), cetirizine (Zyrtec) (prescription drug in some countries).
Decongestants – Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed), Oxymetazoline HCl (Afrin nasal spray), phenylephrine hydrochloride (Neo-Synephrine nasal spray).
Combination drugs (antihistamine + decongestant) – Pseudoephedrine-triprolidine (Actifed), chlorpheniramine maleate-pseudoephedrine sulfate (Chlor-Trimeton D), clemastine-phenylpropanolamine (Tavist D), acetaminophen-diphenhydramine HCl (Tylenol Allergy, Sinus), pheniramine maleate- naphazoline hydrochloride (0.025%) (Ocu-Hist or Visine-A eye drops).
Get only those allergy drugs that have worked for you earlier. Remember to check the active ingredient/s in the OTC allergy medicine you use.
Generally, over the counter drugs should not be used over long time. Consult a doctor if your allergy symptoms are new.