Best Prescription Allergy Medications for Allergy Relief

How to get prescription allergy medicine?

Prescription allergy medications can only be supplied by a doctor who has assessed your symptoms and condition. Testing is also often required to confirm a diagnosis before a prescription can be issued. The first step to getting prescription medication is to consult with your doctor or an allergist.

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Allergies can be a frustrating, and sometimes even debilitating condition to deal with. People with severe symptoms often find themselves reaching for over-the-counter (OTC) relief, only to eventually realize that it isn't enough to tackle the long-term reality of their diagnosis.

Prescription allergy medication is a common consideration among those looking to manage symptoms and keep reactions at bay. But it isn't as straightforward as you might think - there are many things to know and consider before taking this route of allergy treatment. This article will take an in-depth look at the process of obtaining prescription allergy medication, from getting a diagnosis to understanding the potential side effects.

What Are Prescription Allergy Medications Used For?

Prescription allergy medication is a category of drugs designed to treat the symptoms of allergies but only when prescribed by a doctor. Unlike OTC medications, prescription medicines are formulated with more powerful medicinal ingredients that are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Prescription allergy medications can be used to treat the symptoms of hay fever, allergic rhinitis, and allergic conjunctivitis. It's heavily relied on by many chronic allergy sufferers as a way to mitigate symptoms, prevent allergic reactions, and reduce their impact on day-to-day living.

Types of Prescription Allergy Medicines

Prescription allergy medication can come in many forms. Some of the most commonly prescribed include antihistamines, corticosteroids, and decongestants, each of which works to reduce inflammation in the body and help alleviate symptoms differently.

Read below for a breakdown of the main types of prescription allergy medications, how they work, and what other names you might know them by.

Antihistamines

Antihistamines are arguably the most prescribed form of allergy treatment. The reason is because they have a direct effect on the symptoms. As the name suggests, antihistamines work by blocking histamine, a natural chemical the body produces during allergic reactions.

In large quantities, histamine causes inflammation and other uncomfortable symptoms, such as sneezing, itching, runny nose, and nasal congestion. By blocking histamine, antihistamines can effectively reduce the discomfort associated with these reactions.

Oral Antihistamines

Antihistamines can be administered orally in tablet or liquid form. These are both straightforward options that can provide relief from mild to moderate seasonal allergies quickly, but they do come with potential side effects such as drowsiness, dry mouth, and nausea.

Popular oral antihistamines include:

  • Loratadine (Alavert and Claritin)
  • Cetirizine (Zyrtec)
  • Fexofenadine (Allegra)
  • Levocetirizine (Xyzal)
  • Desloratadine (Clarinex)

Antihistamine Nasal Sprays

Prescribed antihistamine nasal sprays deliver similar symptom-fighting effects as oral medications, but instead of being taken by mouth, they are injected into the nose as a mist. This medium is particularly effective when it comes to reducing discomfort in the nose and sinuses. The main drawback is that it can be harder to tolerate, as most sprays are known to cause throat irritation.

Popular antihistamine nasal spray brands include:

  • Azelastine (Astelin and Astepro)
  • Olopatadine (Patanase)
  • Fluticasone (Flonase)
  • Mometasone (Nasonex)

Antihistamine Eye Drops

For those with allergy symptoms that particularly impact the eyes, antihistamine eye drops serve to treat that irritation at its source. This medication is taken like regular eye drops and can provide relief from eye redness, itching, burning, or stinging.

Popular antihistamine eye drop brands include:

  • Ketotifen (Zaditor)
  • Emedastine (Emadine) 
  • Olopatadine (Patanol)
  • Bromfenazole/Pheniramine (Claritin Eye, Visine All Day Relief, and Alaway)

Decongestants

Decongestants work by narrowing the blood vessels in your nasal passages. This increases airflow and reduces swelling, allowing you to breathe more easily. Like antihistamines, this alternative allergy treatment comes in both OTC and prescription forms. They are generally recommended for short-term relief of nasal congestion symptoms, as they can become less effective with extended use.

Oral Decongestants

Most prescription and OTC decongestants you'll find on the market today come in pill or liquid form. They're sometimes mixed with antihistamines, along with other therapeutic and medicinal ingredients.

Popular oral decongestant brands include:

  • Oxymetazoline (Afrin, Dristan, and Vicks Sinex)
  • Phenylephrine (Sudafed PE)
  • Pseudoephedrine (Silfedrine and Sudafed)

Decongestant Nasal Sprays

Nasal sprays are a type of decongestant that works by delivering the medication directly into your nasal passages. However, long-term use of a nasal decongestant can cause rebound congestion.

Popular decongestant nasal spray brands include:

  • Oxymetazoline (Afrin)
  • Oxymetazoline (Sinex)
  • Oxymetazoline (Zicam Sinus Relief)
  • Phenylephrine (Neo-Synephrine)

Corticosteroids

Corticosteroids are a type of medication designed to reduce inflammation and swelling. These drugs are commonly used to treat asthma, allergies, arthritis, lupus, and other inflammatory conditions. They can also be used to suppress the immune system in cases of organ transplantation or autoimmune disorders.

Corticosteroid Nasal Sprays

Corticosteroid sprays deliver medicinal relief to the nasal passages. This is especially effective for individuals who suffer from allergy-induced inflammation in the nose and airways.

Popular corticosteroid nasal sprays include:

  • Budesonide (Rhinocort)
  • Mometasone (Nasonex)
  • Fluticasone furoate (Flonase Sensimist)
  • Fluticasone propionate (Flonase Allergy Relief)
  • Triamcinolone (Nasacort Allergy 24 Hour)

Corticosteroid Inhalers

Hay fever is known for its unpleasant symptoms, such as coughing, sneezing, and difficulty breathing. Corticosteroid inhalers are designed to reduce the inflammation that is caused by seasonal allergens and irritants in the air.

Popular corticosteroid inhalers include:

  • Beclomethasone (Qvar Redihaler)
  • Mometasone (Asmanex Twisthaler)
  • Budesonide (Pulmicort Flexhaler)
  • Ciclesonide (Alvesco)
  • Fluticasone (Flovent)

Corticosteroid Creams

When applied topically, corticosteroids can be effective in relieving the inflammation and rashes caused by conditions like allergic contact dermatitis.

Popular corticosteroid creams include:

  • Betamethasone (Dermabet and Diprolene)
  • Desonide (Desonate and DesOwen)
  • Hydrocortisone (Locoid and Micort-HC)
  • Mometasone (Elocon)

Corticosteroid Eye Drops

Corticosteroid eye drops are used to reduce inflammation in the eyes caused by allergies, infections, and other irritants. These medications can be used to treat a wide range of ocular conditions, including conjunctivitis (pink eye), blepharitis (eyelid inflammation), and iritis (inflammation of the iris).

Popular corticosteroid eye drops include:

  • Fluorometholone (Flarex and FML)
  • Loteprednol (Alrex and Lotemax)
  • Prednisolone (Omnipred and Pred Forte)

Oral Corticosteroids

Oral corticosteroids are somewhat less common and usually reserved for those with severe allergy symptoms. You've likely heard of them before under the names Prelone, Prednisone Intensol, Rayos, and Medrol.

Other Types of Prescribed Allergy Medication

In addition to antihistamines, decongestants, and corticosteroids, there are a few other types of allergy medications that your doctor may prescribe to treat chronic allergies, like mast cell stabilizers and leukotriene inhibitors.

Mast Cell Stabilizers

Mast cell stabilizers work by inhibiting the release of histamines and other substances from mast cells, which are a type of white blood cell that is responsible for triggering allergy symptoms. Popular mast cell stabilizers include cromolyn sodium (Crolom) and nedocromil (Tilade).

Leukotriene Inhibitors

Leukotriene inhibitors block inflammatory chemicals in the body called leukotrienes. By inhibiting their activity, they can help reduce inflammation and allergy symptoms. Popular brands include Accolate (zafirlukast) and Singulair (montelukast).

Who Can Take Prescription Allergy Meds?

Most prescription allergy medications are usually prescribed for people over the age of 12 who have moderate-to-severe allergies that don't respond well to other forms of treatment. However, many contain ingredients that are not recommended for certain individuals, hence the importance of having a doctor involved.

Those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, have a chronic condition like diabetes, glaucoma, osteoporosis, or high blood pressure, or are on other medications should consult their doctor before taking any prescription allergy medication.

How to Get Prescription Allergy Medications

You can't just walk down to a corner store and buy them outright; a licensed doctor must assess your condition and conclude that such medication is necessary. The doctor may then provide you with a prescription that can be filled at your local pharmacy.

In some cases, the doctor may refer you to an allergist for further testing to determine which specific allergy medications are best suited for your condition. Traditionally, this requires a skin prick test or blood test. Once the results are determined, the doctor can then prescribe a medication that addresses your specific allergy type.

Side Effects and Risks

Allergy medications, like all medicines, come with side effects and risks. Common side effects include drowsiness, confusion, or other cognitive difficulties, dry mouth, nausea, and dizziness. These are just some of the more common side effects, and they may differ from person to person. Certain allergy medications may also have unique side effects from one another.

Prescription Allergy Medication Alternatives

While they can be effective, it's obvious that taking prescribed allergy medicine doesn't come without drawbacks. Many people who have been on it for years eventually seek out an alternative that treats their allergies at the source. Allergy immunotherapy is the best allergy treatment option for long-term relief. There are two types of allergy immunotherapy: allergy shots and sublingual immunotherapy.

Allergy Shots

Allergy shots, or subcutaneous immunotherapy, are designed to build the body's tolerance to allergens over time. The treatment consists of regular visits to the doctor to receive injections over several years. The shots contain small amounts of an allergen (usually pollen, dust mites, or animal dander) that gradually get stronger as time goes on. While they have long been the standard in immunotherapy, there are also some drawbacks such as the need to get regular injections and the potential for side effects.

Sublingual Immunotherapy

Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT) is a newer treatment option for allergies that has been gaining in popularity. SLIT involves using drops or tablets that are placed under the tongue to deliver small doses of allergens over time, similar to traditional allergy shots. The main advantage of this method is that it does not require regular visits to the doctor for injections and can be done in the comfort of your own home.

When to See a Doctor

If your current allergy medications aren't providing enough relief, it may be time to see a doctor and discuss the possibility of getting a new prescription allergy medication. With all of the benefits, drawbacks, and special considerations there are to keep in mind, their expertise can help you find the right treatment for your allergies.

Take Our Allergy Assessment and Get Treatment Today

Allergies can be a difficult issue to manage. That's why Wyndly is here to help by providing sublingual immunotherapy treatment plans, an effective and convenient option for allergies that can do away with your symptoms long-term. Take our allergy assessment now to see if Wyndly is right for you!

Frequently Asked Questions

Any remaining questions? This FAQ section is here to help.

How Often Can You Take Prescription Allergy Medications?

Prescription allergy medications should only be taken as directed by your doctor. This can include taking them once per day or more often depending on the type of medication. Follow the instructions on the label and talk to your healthcare provider about any questions you have.

Can Children Take Prescription Allergy Medications?

Yes, children can take prescription allergy medications. However, it is important to first consult with your child's healthcare provider before administering any medication. This will ensure that the correct dosage and type of medication are being used for their specific condition and age group.

Can You Take Prescription Allergy Medications During Pregnancy?

It is best to avoid taking any prescription allergy medications during pregnancy unless advised by your healthcare provider. Speak with your healthcare provider before taking any medications while pregnant for their expertise on whether the medication is safe to take during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

What are the most common prescription allergy medication names?

In no particular order, the most common prescription allergy meds are Claritin, Promethazine, Benadryl, Xyzal, Allegra, Hydroxyzine and Zyrtec. These medications help manage symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes by blocking histamines or reducing inflammation.

What are the best prescription allergy medicines for adults?

For adults, prescription allergy medicines include antihistamines like Claritin and Zyrtec and nasal sprays like Nasacort and Flonase. These medications help control allergy symptoms and improve your quality of life.

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