Over the Counter Medicines

Over the counter (OTC) medications for allergic diseases


Antihistamines and decongestants are the most common OTC medications for treating
allergy symptoms.

Antihistamines work well for symptoms of itching, runny nose and sneezing. There are
oral antihistamines and antihistamines for the eye. Some oral antihistamines can cause
drowsiness in some people. They work best when used regularly during your allergy
season. Antihistamines work to block the affect of histamine, a substance your body
makes and releases during an allergic reactions. Examples of common oral
antihistamines include brand names such as Allegra, Benadryl, Claritin and Zyrtec. AllZyrtec
have generic versions. Oral antihistamines should be avoided in patients with angleclosure
glaucoma, and prostate problems. Zaditor is an example of a antihistamine eye

Decongestants work to help reduce congestion by constricting blood vessels and
reducing blood flow. There are nasal, eye and oral tablets available. Oral
decongestants should be avoided in people with high blood pressure, heart problems,
thyroid conditions, prostate problems and diabetes Nasal preparations should only be
used for 3 to 5 days, longer use can cause rebound swelling in the nose. Decongestant
Eye drops should also be used for only short periods of time and not used by people
with glaucoma. Sudafed is a common brand name oral decongestant and Afrin and220
Neo-synephrine are common brand name nasal decongestants. These also have
generic versions.

There are combination oral medications and eye drops that have an antihistamine and a

Two OTC nasal sprays help with nasal symptoms. One is Nasalcrom, this spray
prevents and relieves runny nose, itchy nose, sneezing and nasal congestion. It works
best if started before symptoms start and used regularly during allergy symptoms. It
reduces the amount of histamine released. Nasacort Allergy 24 HR relieves nasal
congestion, sneezing, runny nose and itchy nose. It blocks chemical responses that
produce allergy symptoms.


Racepinephrine Inhaltion Solution is available over the counter for asthma symptoms,
Asthmanefrin. It is used for the temporary relief of asthma symptoms such as
shortness of breath, chest tightness, cough and wheezing. It is inhaled through a hand
held atomizer. It works by relaxing the muscles of the lungs, this opens up the airways
allowing for more air to move in and out of the lungs. Overuse of this medication can
build up a tolerance which will reduce it’s effectiveness. Consult your health care
provider if you are needing this product is more than twice a week or asthma is getting
worse. Side effects include an increased heart rate, tremors, insomnia, nervousness or
seizures. Consult your health care provider prior to it’s use if you have heart disease,
high blood pressure, seizures, thyroid disease, glaucoma, diabetes, enlarged prostate,
a psychiatric or emotional condition or you have been hospitalized for asthma.


Treatment of eczema includes hydrating the skin and controlling itching/triggers.
Antihistamines are often used to control the itching. Twice a day application of lotion is
very important. Using a scent free/dye free product such as Ceravae, Vanicream and
Cetaphil is recommended. Temporary use of an OTC hydrocortisone cream can be
used on the body for up to two weeks. Consult your health care provider if needingch-132_med2a
longer or for use on the face.

Jul 9, 2014   3102   Paul Barker    Services, Treatment Options
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