Aren’t All Antihistamines the Same?
The simple answer is no; antihistamines come in a variety of forms and target different symptoms. Forms of medication include oral products, nasal sprays, and eye drops. Depending on the symptom being treated, the best choice of antihistamine will vary. While the best option for treating your allergies is to visit an allergist, we understand that over the counter medication is a convenient and affordable option that temporarily relieves symptoms. We’ve compiled a list of common antihistamines to help you decide which medication will best relieve your symptoms.
Oral products are the most common form of antihistamine. They are best used for the treatment of seasonal allergy symptoms such as itchy nose/throat, coughing, runny nose, and sneezing. Some common oral antihistamines are Benadryl, Claritin, and Zyrtec. Many of our allergists recommend Zyrtec as the preferred treatment. We ask our patients who come into the office to stop taking oral antihistamines 48 hours before their visit.
Steroid nasal sprays are the recommended treatment for nasal allergies that include a stuffy nose, sinus pressure, and post nasal drip. These sprays reduce the swelling in your nose, making it easier to breathe. Some nasal sprays offered over the counter are Rhinocort Allergy, Flonase Allergy Relief, and Nasacort Allergy 24HR.
These products all offer 24-hour relief without drowsiness warnings.
Antihistamine eye drops are recommended to treat itchy eyes due to allergies. They reduce histamine in the eye tissues and control swelling. If most of your allergy symptoms live near the eyes, eye drops are your best choice of treatment.
Zyrtec and Zaditor are great choices for treating your allergies. They are fast acting and prescription strength. However, eye drops do not offer 24-hour relief; so they must be used multiple times a day.
When to Visit an Allergist
If you still experience allergy symptoms after using over the counter antihistamines, it is best to seek treatment from an allergist. Our allergists at NY Allergy & Sinus Centers have easy access to the latest allergy testing and immunotherapy. We offer services in seven clinics throughout Manhattan: Murray Hill, Midtown, Upper West Side, Chelsea, Upper East Side, and in Queens: Glendale and Hollis. Please remember to stop taking oral antihistamines 48 hours before your visit.
We are here to help! Call (212) 686-4448 to book your appointment today.
Meet the Physician Collaborator
Dr. Patel is a doctor of osteopathic medicine. She is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine as well as the American Board of Allergy and Immunology. You can schedule an appointment with Dr. Patel by calling (212) 686-4448.