Everything You Need To Know About Allergy Medications

What’s an antihistamine? Do you need eye drops? Is it time to get prescription-level allergy medication? Find out with our allergy med guide.

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You’re suffering. You just want relief. But when you’re at the allergy med aisle, you just want to know the best over-the-counter medication to take for your allergy symptoms. We get it. Thankfully Dr. Susan Waserman, professor of medicine, division of clinical immunology and allergy at McMaster University gave us this quick allergy medication guide on what’s available over-the-counter and by prescription.


Antihistamines are great for treating symptoms such as itchy, runny nose, and itchy, runny eyes, but these are less effective for nasal stuffiness. These can be used daily throughout allergy season if needed. It is best to start taking antihistamines before allergy season begins.

1. Aerius – desloratidine
2. Allegra –  fexofenadine
3. Claritin – loratidine
4. Reactine – cetirizine

Two new prescription antihistamines now available: Blexten (bilastine) and Rupall (rupatidine).

There are shorter acting antihistamines but these may cause tiredness and may interfere with your ability to drive or work.

1. Atarax – hydroxyzine
2. Benadryl – diphenhydramine
3. Chlorotripolon – chlorpheniramine
4. Dimetapp – brompheniramine maleate

Nasal Steroid Sprays

These help treat sinus allergy symptoms, including nasal congestion. For seasonal symptoms, start using nasal steroid spray about two weeks before the start of the season and used daily until the end of the season. Nasal steroid sprays are available by prescription. Nasal sprays must be used correctly to obtain the best results: Point the spray away from midline bridge of the nose. If they are not used correctly, they can cause dryness and nasal bleeding.

1. Avamys – fluticasone furoate
2. Beconase – beclamethasone diproprionate
3. Nasonex – mometasone furoate
4. Omnaris – ciclesonide
5. Rhinocort– budesonide
6. Vancenase – beclamethasone diproprionate

Two nasal steroid sprays that are now available over the counter: Nasacort and Flonase Allergy Relief.

Eye Drops

Eye drops can be taken to help relieve symptoms of itchy, watery eyes.

1. Alomide – lodoxamide
2. Opticrom – sodium cromoglycate
3. Patanol – olopatadine

If avoidance of what you’re allergic to and taking medication do not ease your symptoms, an allergist may offer allergy shots. These can be very effective, especially for pollen and house dust mite allergy. These are given all year round or right before the start of the season that affects you. They desensitize you to your allergens so that you are no longer symptomatic. We also have grass and ragweed sublingual tablets for desensitization. These are a home-based therapy.