For minor reactions, such as hives or itching, a first- or second-generation antihistamine may help mitigate symptoms. First generation antihistamines include:
- brompheniramine (Dimetapp)
- dimenhydrinate (Dramamine)
- diphenhydramine (Benadryl, Sominex)
- doxylamine (Vicks NyQuil)
Second-generation antihistamines include:
- cetirizine (Zyrtec)
- desloratadine (clarinex)
- fexofenadine (allegra)
- loratadine (Alavert, Claritin)
Another drug, cromolyn sodium, has been found to lessen an allergic reaction to a food if taken before eating. (Avoiding the food if at all possible is, of course, a better approach.) Cromolyn sodium is widely used in inhalers and nasal medications for allergy symptoms.
Antispasmodic drugs such as hyoscyamine may be effective in reducing such abdominal allergic reactions as cramping, bloating, or nausea.
For a serious allergic reaction to food, such as anaphylaxis, you may need an emergency injection of epinephrine. Epinephrine can be administered by emergency medical response teams, but is also available as an auto-injector—a single-dose combined syringe and needle that should be carried around by anyone with a known serious food allergy.