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A 43-year-old member asked:

What should i know when choosing an otc allergy medication?

2 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Paige Gutheil
Family Medicine 20 years experience
Claritin (loratadine): The following work for most people. . . Non-sedating products over the counter that help with sneezing, itchy/watery eyes: claritin, zyrtec, allegra. Benadryl (diphenhydramine) works well, but can cause drowsiness. Any medication that says "d" (contains a decongestant) can raise blood pressure and should be avoided for most people. Try Mucinex plain, nasal saline, and Vicks vapor rub for congestion.
Dr. Lea Danielsen
Family Medicine 33 years experience
Benadryl also affects driving even if you can't tell you are sleepy.
Jan 14, 2012
Dr. Reid Blackwelder
Family Medicine 38 years experience
The suggestions above are right on target. Another less known herbal product that acts as an antihistamine (allergy medicine) is stinging nettle. A good health food store will likely carry a brand you can trust. Also, pay attention to diet. you may be eating something that causes symptoms, including gluten and dairy products.
Jan 28, 2012
Dr. Jack Mutnick
Allergy and Immunology 18 years experience
OTC antihistamine: Know that Claritin (loratadine) and zyrtec can cause some drowsiness, whereas Allegra does not cross blood brain barrier (no drowsy). Claritin (loratadine) is the weakest binding antihistamine with zyrtec being the strongest. The generics are similar in strength so brand name is unnecessary. Lastly, you really should see an allergist for testing since an otc antihistamine might not be best.
Last updated Dec 7, 2015
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