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Medications for Allergies

Other names: Allergy; Dust Mite Allergy

What are Allergies?

Allergies are an overreaction by your immune system to a substance or food that is not considered harmful to most other people. Substances that cause allergies are called allergens or “triggers”.

What Causes Allergies?

When you have allergies, your immune system mistakes normally harmless substances for dangerous invaders and produces antibodies to fight them. These antibodies release chemicals, such as histamine, that cause allergy symptoms. 

The most common allergens are:

  • Animal fur or hair (such as that from cats, dogs, horses, or rabbits)
  • Dust mites
  • Food, especially cow’s milk, eggs, peanuts, seafood, soy, tree nuts (almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews) and wheat
  • Insect stings
  • Latex
  • Medicines
  • Mould
  • Pollen.

An allergen for one person may not cause any problems in another person. There is a link between allergy and asthma.

What are the Symptoms of Allergies?

Reactions to the same allergen vary among individuals and depend on how the allergen entered the body (for example, being bitten by a mosquito causes a localized reaction on the skin whereas exposure to pollen may cause a tickly throat and itchy eyes).

Symptoms may include:

  • Abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting (food allergies)
  • Areas of swelling and redness where a person has been stung or bitten (for insect bites/stings)
  • Cough, chest tightness, wheezing or shortness of breath
  • Itching of the nose, eyes or roof of the mouth
  • A skin rash or hives, usually accompanied by body-wide itching
  • Runny, stuffy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue, face, or throat
  • Tingling of the mouth
  • Watery, red or swollen eyes (conjunctivitis)
  • Wheezing.

Some types of allergies can trigger a severe reaction known as anaphylaxis. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • A drop in blood pressure
  • Severe shortness of breath
  • Skin rash
  • Lightheadedness
  • A rapid, weak pulse
  • Nausea and vomiting.

When Should I See a Doctor for my Allergies?

Many allergies can be effectively treated with over-the-counter medications. See your doctor if you have persistent allergies that are interfering with your day to day life if you have severe reactions, or over the counter, remedies are not effective.

People who develop anaphylaxis should always carry an epinephrine auto-injector 24 hours a day and know how to use it. People should also visit the emergency department after using the auto-injector to ensure symptoms don't return when the effects of the injection wear off.

How Are Allergies Treated?

Treatment depends on what is the most troublesome or predominant symptom. Treatments may include:

  • Antihistamines (oral, nasal, topical)
  • Corticosteroids (oral, nasal, topical)
  • Decongestants (oral, nasal)
  • Saline nasal rinses
  • Immunotherapy.

People with known allergies should try and avoid known triggers and wear a medical alert bracelet (or necklace) that lets others know that you have a serious allergy in case you have a reaction and you're unable to communicate.

Drugs Used to Treat Allergies

The following list of medications are in some way related to, or used in the treatment of this condition.

Drug name Rx / OTC Pregnancy CSA Alcohol Reviews Rating Activity
hydroxyzine N N X 45 reviews
8.1

Generic name: hydroxyzine systemic

Drug class: miscellaneous anxiolytics, sedatives and hypnotics, antihistamines

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

levocetirizine B N X 176 reviews
4.9

Generic name: levocetirizine systemic

Brand name:  Xyzal

Drug class: antihistamines

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

Xyzal B N X 150 reviews
4.7

Generic name: levocetirizine systemic

Drug class: antihistamines

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

loratadine B N 1 review
8.0

Generic name: loratadine systemic

Drug class: antihistamines

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

doxylamine B N X Add review
0.0

Generic name: doxylamine systemic

Brand names:  Equate Sleep Aid, Care One Sleep Aid, Equaline Sleep Aid

Drug class: miscellaneous anxiolytics, sedatives and hypnotics

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph

corticotropin C N 1 review
9.0

Generic name: corticotropin systemic

Brand names:  Acthar, H.P. Acthar Gel

Drug class: corticotropin

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph

triprolidine C N X 1 review
10

Generic name: triprolidine systemic

Brand names:  M-Hist PD, Vanaclear PD, Histex

Drug class: antihistamines

For consumers: dosage, interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts, AHFS DI Monograph

Acthar C N 1 review
9.0

Generic name: corticotropin systemic

Drug class: corticotropin

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

chlorpheniramine / ibuprofen / phenylephrine N X Add review
0.0

Generic name: chlorpheniramine / ibuprofen / phenylephrine systemic

Drug class: upper respiratory combinations

For consumers: interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts

dexbrompheniramine C N X Add review
0.0

Generic name: dexbrompheniramine systemic

Brand name:  Ala-Hist IR

Drug class: antihistamines

For consumers: interactions,

Ala-Hist IR C N X Add review
0.0

Generic name: dexbrompheniramine systemic

Drug class: antihistamines

For consumers: interactions, side effects

dexbrompheniramine / phenylephrine C N X Add review
0.0

Generic name: dexbrompheniramine / phenylephrine systemic

Drug class: upper respiratory combinations

For consumers: interactions,

For professionals: A-Z Drug Facts

Equate Sleep Aid B N X Add review
0.0

Generic name: doxylamine systemic

Drug class: miscellaneous anxiolytics, sedatives and hypnotics

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

Care One Sleep Aid B N X Add review
0.0

Generic name: doxylamine systemic

Drug class: miscellaneous anxiolytics, sedatives and hypnotics

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

Equaline Sleep Aid B N X Add review
0.0

Generic name: doxylamine systemic

Drug class: miscellaneous anxiolytics, sedatives and hypnotics

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: Prescribing Information

H.P. Acthar Gel C N Add review
0.0

Generic name: corticotropin systemic

Drug class: corticotropin

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

For professionals: AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information

M-Hist PD C N X Add review
0.0

Generic name: triprolidine systemic

Drug class: antihistamines

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

Vanaclear PD C N X Add review
0.0

Generic name: triprolidine systemic

Drug class: antihistamines

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

Histex C N X Add review
0.0

Generic name: triprolidine systemic

Drug class: antihistamines

For consumers: dosage, interactions, side effects

Topics under Allergies

Alternative treatments for Allergies

The following products are considered to be alternative treatments or natural remedies for Allergies. Their efficacy may not have been scientifically tested to the same degree as the drugs listed in the table above. However there may be historical, cultural or anecdotal evidence linking their use to the treatment of Allergies.

Legend

Rx Prescription Only
OTC Over the Counter
Rx/OTC Prescription or Over the Counter
Off Label This medication may not be approved by the FDA for the treatment of this condition.
Pregnancy Category
A Adequate and well-controlled studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus in the first trimester of pregnancy (and there is no evidence of risk in later trimesters).
B Animal reproduction studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women.
C Animal reproduction studies have shown an adverse effect on the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use in pregnant women despite potential risks.
D There is positive evidence of human fetal risk based on adverse reaction data from investigational or marketing experience or studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use in pregnant women despite potential risks.
X Studies in animals or humans have demonstrated fetal abnormalities and/or there is positive evidence of human fetal risk based on adverse reaction data from investigational or marketing experience, and the risks involved in use in pregnant women clearly outweigh potential benefits.
N FDA has not classified the drug.
Controlled Substances Act (CSA) Schedule
N Is not subject to the Controlled Substances Act.
1 Has a high potential for abuse. Has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. There is a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.
2 Has a high potential for abuse. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions. Abuse may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.
3 Has a potential for abuse less than those in schedules 1 and 2. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence.
4 Has a low potential for abuse relative to those in schedule 3. It has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to those in schedule 3.
5 Has a low potential for abuse relative to those in schedule 4. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to those in schedule 4.
Alcohol
X Interacts with Alcohol.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.