Spring allergy season is nearly upon us, and my waiting room is already full of people with itchy eyes and runny noses. Many people flock to their primary doctor or allergist this time of year in an attempt to find relief from their spring hay fever symptoms. Some people, however, don't have the time or resources to see a doctor, and just suffer through their symptoms. Fortunately, there are many effective allergy medicines available over-the-counter (OTC) without a prescription, but the choices can be daunting. Choosing the best OTC allergy medicine depends on a person's symptoms. For example, if sneezing and an itchy nose are the main symptom, an antihistamine is a good choice. If congestion is the problem, an oral decongestant (with or without an antihistamine) or a nasal spray such as NasalCrom may help. If itchy eyes are the main symptom, the right OTC allergy eye drop should help. Given the numerous OTC allergy medicines available, relief from hay fever should be within reach for most everyone.
There are numerous over-the-counter (OTC) medications available for the treatment of allergy symptoms. Some of these, like oral decongestants such as Sudafed (pseudoephedrine) and sedating antihistamines like Benadryl (diphenhydramine), have been available for many years. Others, such as Claritin (loratadine) and Zyrtec-D (cetirizine/pseudoephedrine), have only recently become available OTC without a prescription.
As the cost of healthcare continues to rise, my patients frequently ask me about generic allergy medicines. Fortunately, there are a number of allergy medicines that have recently become available in generic form -- which typically translates into a lower cost. When a medication loses its patent, other companies are free to market the medication in a generic form. This is different than a medication being approved by the Food and Drug Administration for over-the-counter (OTC) use. While many OTC allergy medicines are available in generic versions, including Zyrtec and Claritin, others are still only available in brand name form (such as Allegra).
Allergy season can make people miserable with symptoms of hay fever, causing them to want to take medications. A variety of allergy medications are available for the treatment of allergic rhinitis, from over-the-counter (OTC) options to prescription-only drugs. Given the number of choices available, almost everyone can find a medicine that will help them get through allergy season.
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