What kind of allergy medicine should i take if i have high blood pressure
The options can be confusing. Attempt this approach when symptoms start to develop.
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If you’re struggling with allergy symptoms, you may assume you can resolve them with an over-the-counter (OTC) remedy. And that may be true. Numerous pharmaceutical-grade allergy drugs once available only by prescription are now as simple to purchase as aspirin.
But that development forces you to become a doctor in the drugstore aisle as you attempt to figure out which product is correct for you. «People often make the incorrect decision about which medication to take and they wind up being undertreated.
They attempt a stir of medications, but don’t get relief,» says Dr. Ahmad Sedaghat, an ear, nose, and throat specialist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.
Strategies to fight back
There are two primary ways that OTC drugs assist you manage allergies. One is by blocking the effects of histamine when alarm bells sound. To do this, you can use a medication called an antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) or loratadine (Claritin).
Another way, says Dr.
Sedaghat, is by suppressing the immune system response before it even releases histamine. This is done with corticosteroid nasal sprays. OTC versions include budesonide (Rhinocort), fluticasone propionate (Flonase), and triamcinolone (Nasacort).
Sometimes a combination of an antihistamine and a corticosteroid nasal spray is the most effective treatment.
If you’re experiencing what seems love your first reaction to an allergen from pollen, grasses, or weeds — maybe from a particularly potent pollen season — or if you’re experiencing an isolated reaction to a day of yard work, Dr. Sedaghat recommends trying an antihistamine for quick relief.
But be careful: first-generation OTC antihistamines such as chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton) and diphenhydramine can cause drowsiness and confusion in some people, which can also lead to falls.
Instead, Dr. Sedaghat suggests taking a second-generation OTC antihistamine that’s less likely to cause drowsiness, such as fexofenadine (Allegra), loratadine, or cetirizine (Zyrtec). Compared with first-generation antihistamines, the second-generation ones are no more potent, but they are more expensive.
Antihistamine eye drops, such as ketotifen (Zaditor), available over the counter, can be used for watery eyes.
If an antihistamine isn’t resolving your symptoms, or if you know you’ll own an allergic reaction in a specific season (tree pollens are bothersome in the spring, grasses can be a problem in early summer, and ragweed is an offender in tardy summer and fall), you may desire to up your game by using a corticosteroid nasal spray.
«Head to head, the corticosteroid nasal sprays work better than the oral antihistamines for congestion and stuffy nose,» Dr. Sedaghat says.
The downside is that these sprays take time — generally at least two to four weeks — for their full effect. That can be tough when you’re coping with symptoms.
If you anticipate seasonal allergy symptoms, you’ll need to start using the corticosteroid nasal spray before symptoms typically begin.
But nasal corticosteroids also own side effects: they can cause bloody noses; they can worsen glaucoma; and in rare cases they can cause a hole in the septum, the wall that separates the correct and left side of the nose.
What about decongestants?
Over-the-counter decongestants, such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) or phenylephrine (Neo-Synephrine, Sudafed PE), narrow the blood vessels, which can assist reduce inflammation in your nasal passages and provide relief.
But older adults can be more sensitive to the effects of these medications, so it’s significant to check with your doctor before using them.
What’s the problem? For one, decongestants can increase your blood pressure. Decongestants are also stimulants, which can increase your heart rate or cause anxiety or insomnia.
The drugs aren’t recommended for people with heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, or angina.
Using over-the-counter decongestant nasal sprays for more than two or three days can backfire, leading to greater swelling than you experienced initially.
What causes allergies?
Before choosing a medication, it helps to understand what’s causing your allergies. Often it’s a matter of inhaling a harmless substance, such as pollen or another allergen, which the immune system mistakenly perceives as a dangerous invader.
The immune system then «releases the hounds» and generates substances designed to fight the assumed invader.
One of these substances is histamine, which stimulates nerves in the nose to trigger sneezing. Histamine also causes the nasal passages to fill with fluid and cells that can fight invaders. The result: inflamed mucous membranes and the production of mucus (lots of it). This condition, called allergic rhinitis, is marked by a stuffy or runny nose, watery or itchy eyes, sneezing, coughing, and sometimes a sore throat.
When to see a doctor
Dr. Sedaghat recommends trying out OTC remedies to treat allergy symptoms for a month. If you’re still having symptoms, or if you’re concerned about side effects, it may be time to consult your primary care physician; an allergist; or an ear, nose, and throat specialist.
«All of these medications can be tweaked in terms of how much you take and how often,» Dr.
Sedaghat says. But remember, it takes an expert to know how much and which helpful of drug will be safe for your specific health condition and how it will interact with your other medications.
Another option: moving to prescription allergy drugs. Prescription antihistamine sprays, such as azelastine (Astelin) and olopatadine (Patanase), may assist prevent the symptoms of sneezing and a runny nose while minimizing drowsiness.
Doctors can also add another type of prescription medication to your regimen, called a leukotriene inhibitor.
These drugs — such as montelukast (Singulair), zafirlukast (Accolate), and zileuton (Zyflo) — block inflammatory chemicals called leukotrienes.