The Difference Between OTC & Prescription Allergy Drugs

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There is no cure for allergies, but that does not mean you cannot do anything about them. Your allergist in Little Rock or Conway offers a wide range of allergy treatments, many of which can reduce the severity of your symptoms substantially.

But not all treatments are suited to the same allergies. It is important to understand all your treatment options, and that starts with reviewing the difference between prescription and OTC medications.

What are OTC allergy treatments?

OTC or over-the-counter allergy treatments are medications that you can get from your pharmacist without showing them a prescription from a qualified medical professional. The most common allergy drugs that are available over the counter include:

  • Eye Drop Antihistamines– If your allergies cause you to develop itchy eyes, many of the eye drops you use to reduce that itchiness will be available over the counter. These include drugs that contain naphazoline and pheniramine.
  • Oral AntihistaminesTaken by pill or in liquid form, oral antihistamines provide relief from runny noses, itchy eyes, and a range of other symptoms. OTC oral antihistamines include fexofenadine, cetirizine, and loratadine.
  • Oral Decongestants– Designed specifically to clear up your nose and sinuses, oral decongestants are frequently available over the counter. The most common OTC decongestant is pseudoephedrine, sold under brand names like Sudafed and Afrinol.

OTC allergy medications present fewer health risks than prescription ones, which is why it is not necessary to get a doctor’s permission to buy them. Nonetheless, they can be dangerous if taken under certain circumstances or in large amounts. You should thus ask your Conway or Little Rock allergy clinic if they are right for you, and you should always follow the recommended dose.

What are prescription allergy treatments?

If you have severe or intractable allergy symptoms, OTC medications may not be enough. As a result, you may want to get your local allergist to prescribe a more powerful treatment. Prescription medications tend to have more risks. However, if your doctor deems them safe for you and you take them as instructed, they may be far more effective at treating your allergies. The most common prescription allergy drugs include:

  • Nasal AntihistaminesNasal sprays containing olopatadine or azelastine can make your nose less itchy, runny, drippy, or congested.
  • Corticosteroids– Designed to reduce inflammation, these help you relieve some of the most dangerous symptoms of asthma and other conditions. One of the most common ways to deliver corticosteroids is through an inhaler.
  • Immunotherapy Shots– Immunotherapy involves giving you small shots of the substance that you are allergic to. It causes your body to become accustomed to that substance, lowering or even eliminating allergic reactions over time.

Arkansas Allergy and Asthma Clinic is committed to helping you find the allergy treatment that is right for you. To learn more about your treatment options or request an appointment, contact us today by calling (877) 959-4671.