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Allergy medicines fall into a couple of groups: first-generation antihistamines , which are mostly available over the counter and include such common drugs as Benadryl and Chlor-tri-meton, and second-generation antihistamines, such as the following: Claritin (now available over the counter) Clarinex (similar to Claritin, but prescription) Zyrtec (prescription) Allegra (prescription) Most people who have allergies take a second generation antihistamine. Not only are they more effective, they're less likely to cause sedation, which makes them a safer choice. However, much of medicine is trial and error . No one treatment is right for every person. I know I've tried all of the second-generation medicines listed above. For me, Allegra works best to control my allergy symptoms, but I know others who swear by Zyrtec or Claritin. Now, for the first time in several years, a new drug has been approved for use in treating allergies in the US: Xyzal . It's been in use for...
There are tons of allergy medicines available , both over the counter and by prescription. So, how can you know which one is best?
The answer to this question is not a simple one. First, it will be helpful to explore the main type of medicine used to treat allergies, which is an antihistamine . An antihistamine is a drug that blocks a receptor for histamine. Histamine is a chemical in your body that over-reacts to certain triggers, or allergens, such as pollen, mold, dust mites or pet dander and produces allergy symptoms. These symptoms can include sneezing, nasal stuffiness, sniffling, and itching. So, antihistamines help relieve or prevent those symptoms.
Let's look closer at the different choices you have for allergy medication:
First-generation antihistamines. These are the original medicines developed to treat allergy symptoms and are available over the counter. These medications are generally effective, but have some bothersome side effects, especially drowsiness, w...
Alternative Names Benadryl overdose; Sominex overdose; Nytol overdose References Wax P. Anticholinergic toxicity. In: Tintinalli JE, Kelen GD, Stapczynski JS, Ma OJ, Cline DM, eds. Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide . 6th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2004:chap 183. Kirk MA, Baer AB. Anticholinergics and antihistamines. In: Shannon MW, Borron SW, Burns MJ, eds. Haddad and Winchester's Clinical Management of Poisoning and Drug Overdose . 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 39.
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