Choose the Right Allergy Medication


A lady learning about the types of allergy medicines available

There are many over-the-counter (OTC) options when it comes to choosing a medication to help manage your allergy symptoms. It’s important to choose the OTC product that will help give you the relief you are searching for. In addition to considering an OTC product for allergy relief, there are other things you can do to help minimize allergy-related irritation. Avoiding allergens that bother you, wearing sunglasses outside to reduce eye exposure to allergens, using lubricating eye drops or nasal gels, and applying a cold compress to closed eyes are added ways to help provide some relief from allergies.


One first line of defense against allergy symptoms are antihistamine medications such as BENADRYL® (diphenhydramine), CLARITIN® (loratadine), REACTINE® (cetirizine), or AERIUS® (desloratadine). Antihistamines help relieve itchy and watery eyes, runny nose and sneezing, itchy nose and throat, and allergic skin conditions (like hives). To learn more about the different types of antihistamines click here.

Intranasal Corticosteroids

Intranasal corticosteroids (INS) are another first line of defense against allergies. Intranasal corticosteroids are used to help treat swelling and inflammation of the nasal passageway, runny nose, sneezing, itchy nose, and nasal congestion. They may also provide effective relief of eye symptoms.


Medications known as decongestants may be used temporarily to relieve nasal congestion symptoms. Decongestants taken by mouth, like pseudoephedrine, are sometimes combined with antihistamines in long-acting formulations, like REACTINE® Complete or AERIUS® Double Action, and are used to relieve sinus or nasal congestion in addition to runny nose, sneezing, and itchy, watery eyes. Nasal decongestants should be used for no more than 5 days due to the risk of rebound congestion.

Saline Nasal Sprays

By loosening mucus and moisturizing the inside of your nose, saline nasal sprays help to soothe nasal dryness and irritation.

Eye Drops

Antihistamine plus decongestant eye drops, such as VISINE® Allergy Advance with Antihistamine (pheniramine maleate 0.3% w/v, naphazoline hydrochloride 0.025% w/v) provide relief of itchy and watery eyes as well as eye redness. Another way to help reduce eye irritation is by closing your eyes and applying a cold compress to them a few times a day.

IMPORTANT: Remember to consult your pharmacist or doctor if you have any questions about using an OTC medication to relieve your allergy symptoms. Take extra precautions and seek the advice of a healthcare professional if you are treating a child, are pregnant, or a person over the age of 65 choosing a medication to treat your allergy symptoms.

To be sure any over-the-counter allergy medication is right for you, always read and follow the product labels.

Refer to product labelling for complete directions for use, including full warnings and other important information before use.

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