There are many types of allergy medications used to control allergy symptoms. Some allergy medications are available over the counter and some need a prescription from a physician. Each medication has its own different properties that will determine its efficacy in treating a particular symptom. The decision to choose one medication and not the other, is based on the patient's symptoms, history and physical exam. Other factors include: patient’s age, past medical history, the medication side effects profile, and other drugs currently used by the patient.
Both over-the-counter and prescription help ease annoying symptoms like congestion and runny nose. These allergy drugs include antihistamines, decongestants, combination medicines, corticosteroids, and others. Allergy shots (immunotherapy), which gradually increase your ability to tolerate allergens, are also available.
Antihistamine Allergy Medication
Antihistamines have been used for years to treat allergy symptoms and are the most common type of allergy medication. They can be taken as pills, liquid, nasal spray, or eye drops. Over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamine eye drops can relieve red itchy eyes, while nasal sprays can be used to treat the symptoms of seasonal or year-round allergies.
Decongestant Allergy Medication
Decongestant allergy medication is used to relieve congestion and are often prescribed along with antihistamines. Decongestants are available in many forms: eye drops, nasal spray, pills or liquid. Nasal spray and eye drop decongestants can be used for only a few days, since long-term use can actually make symptoms worse.
Combination Allergy Medication
Some allergy medication contain both an antihistamine and a decongestant to relieve multiple allergy symptoms. Other combination drugs mix allergy medicine, asthma medicine, and an antihistamine eye drop with a mast cell stabilizer drug.