Are All Allergy Medications the Same?

When it comes to allergy season, whether it hits you in the spring or the fall, we grab for anything that might help relieve the annoying symptoms. No one wants itchy eyes and a runny nose. However, you want to look at which allergy medication will help you the most for the symptoms you have. So, how do you choose?

Over-the-counter (OTC)Allergy Meds

Many over-the-counter (OTC) allergy medications started out as prescription-only options, meaning you had to head to the doc every time allergy season came around. However, the OTC versions of them work just as fine as those your doctor would give you. While they may all work well for most anyone, there are some differences in them.

Allergy medication may be advertised as either long-acting or fast-acting, but usually not both. If you need something to get through the whole day at work, a long-acting allergy med is best. If you have to be at a meeting in a half hour and you have the sniffles, a fast-acting medication will help. You even have choices when it comes to how drowsy it will make you, as some cause more drowsiness than others.

Allergy Relief Plus a Decongestant

Most OTC allergy medications come with a “D” option. The “D” stands for “decongestant” and can combat most allergy symptoms, but also a stuffy nose. The decongestant in nearly all allergy meds is pseudoephedrine. This can cause a bit more drowsiness but can help relieve annoying symptoms. These types of allergy meds must be purchased at the pharmacy counter after showing your ID.

Decongesting Nasal Spray

If the only allergy symptom you have is a stuffy nose, you may not want to take a pill that helps with general allergy symptoms – symptoms you don’t have. A decongesting nasal spray targets just that one symptom and can help give relief fairly quickly. Most nasal sprays are available by prescription only, but there are a couple OTC allergy nasal spray options as well.

If you are having allergy symptoms, you want to make sure you are taking the right medication for your needs. If you need some help choosing the right one or making sure there aren’t any other issues contributing to your symptoms, stop by North Star Medical. We’ll get you on your way to feeling better and will help control your allergy symptoms.


The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as an advice for any individual case or situation.