OTC allergy medications are very effective medicines. Given how prevalent allergies and their associated symptoms are, it should come as no surprise how many of these medicines are available on the market today. These medicines come in a wide array of administrative forms. For example, OTC allergy medications come as pills and creams and eyedrops, as well as liquids, inhalers, and nasal sprays.
Far from being placebos, OTC medicines have been shown to be highly efficacious. There are many OTC medicines which have a little evidential basis in academic literature. Some evidence for some OTC medicines even stretches back to the 1970s. The same cannot be said of OTC allergy medicines, though. New and exciting developments have been made in this field over the past few years, offering a diverse and therapeutically effective range.
Below, we offer the latest comparison of the top OTC allergy medications and how they can help you.
Antihistamines are one of the major classes of drug used to treat allergies. As their name suggests, antihistamines work by blocking the effects of histamine – a chemical which, when released from certain cells in the body, increases the inflammatory response.
This inflammation can manifest in the nasal passages as well as the lungs; the effect of which is to cause an upsurge of immune activity against the allergen.
Diphenhydramine is a prominently used antihistamine. It’s a highly effective medicine used to treat symptoms such as a runny nose, watery eyes, and hives.
Though diphenhydramine is highly effective, the drug also comes with its own range of potential side effects.
These side effects include fatigue and drowsiness. It’s not recommended, for example, for patients taking diphenhydramine to operate machinery when tired.
Diphenhydramine is available as Benadryl Allergy Ultratab tablets.
Cetirizine and Pseudoephedrine
Allergies cause innumerable frustrating symptoms. One of these symptoms is nasal congestion; a feeling of sinus blockage and nasal drip. This symptom can become particularly frustrating at night when trying to sleep.
Cetirizine and pseudoephedrine are two drugs which, when combined, offer significant relief to nasal congestion. They’re available in a wide variety of products, not least Zyrtec-D.
There are two active ingredients in the medicine – cetirizine and pseudoephedrine – each of work by different means.
Cetirizine is an antihistamine, whereas pseudoephedrine works as a sinus decongestant.
In contrast to Benadryl above, Zyrtec-D causes less fatigue and drowsiness. It offers 12-hour relief of nasal congestion, thus helping to enhance breathing and reduce swelling of nasal passages.
As with all products that contain an antihistamine, patients are advised not to consume alcohol during their treatment.
Fexofenadine is a second-generation antihistamine. Unlike their first-generation counterparts, second-generation antihistamines are not associated with fatigue and drowsiness. This means you can have the best of both worlds – an effective antihistamine that doesn’t come with unpleasant side effects.
Fexofenadine is available in the medicine Allegra (though this medicine cannot be administered to children under the age of 12). It has been shown to be highly effective in the treatment of allergic symptoms.
Allegra doesn’t require multiple daily dosing either. Patients are only recommended to take one tablet per day.
Allegra treats the vast majority of allergic symptoms including a runny nose, sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, and throat irritation.
Allegra, then, is a great choice for people who need to concentrate at work or who need to drive frequently. It gives you the ability to tackle allergic symptoms while retaining powers of concentration – avoiding fatigue, avoiding drowsiness and not compounding your existing symptoms.