First-generation antihistamines may be used for relief of minor
symptoms. These drugs may cause drowsiness or performance impairment and are
best used at bedtime. First generation antihistamines include:
- brompheniramine (Dimetapp)
- dimenhydrinate (Dramamine)
- diphenhydramine (Benadryl,
- doxylamine (Vicks NyQuil)
The side effects of first-generation antihistamines can be undesirable.
Second-generation antihistamines have fewer or no such effects and are now
recommended by many doctors. Two second-generation antihistamines are available
over the counter at local pharmacies: cetirizine
(Zyrtec) and loratadine (Alavert, Claritin).
Second-generation antihistamines include desloratadine
(Clarinex) and fexofenadine (Allegra).
If your doctor prescribes or recommends an antihistamine, you should ask
about its common side effects.
nasal decongestants can reduce congestion but may cause side effects like heart palpitations, anxiety, and insomnia. These may include:
- oxymetazoline (Afrin, Vicks
- pseudoephedrine (Actifed,
- phenylephrine (Alka-Seltzer Cold
Effervescent, Benadryl Allergy & Sinus, Dayquil, Robitussin CF, Tylenol
When used as a topical medication, these drugs work slower than
antihistamines. However, as seasonal allergies progress, they can ultimately
decrease the number of days of allergy symptoms because they last longer and
reduce ongoing inflammation. Corticosteroids can be prescribed as an inhaler or
as a nasal spray. Some of these include:
- beclomethasone (Beclovent)
- fluticasone furoate (Veramyst)
- fluticasone propionate (Flonase)
- mometasone (Nasonex)
This class of drug blocks immune system chemicals that cause
allergy symptoms like overproduction of mucus. One example is montelukast
There are a few other, less common drugs that are sometimes used to
treat hay fever.
Cromolyn sodium is available as a nasal spray (NasalCrom) and as an eye drop
(Crolom), and relieves symptoms by preventing the release of histamines.Ipratropium (Atrovent)
prevents the glands in your nose from producing excess fluids, and can be effective in treating a
severe runny nose.