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What are the different types of allergy medicines?


Allergy is an abnormal reaction of the body’s immune system that occurs when it reacts to a substance producing allergy called allergen. Among all types, antihistamines are a popular class of allergy medicines. They work by blocking the action of histamine to reduce or prevent the typical symptoms of allergic symptoms such as swelling, itching, red and watery eyes.

Allergy is an abnormal response of the body’s immune system that happens when it responds to a substance that produces allergy. Substances that produce such allergic reactions are called allergens. A person may have an allergy to a particular substance; while others may not have an allergy to the same substance.

Allergens can enter the body through ingestion, inhalation or through the skin. These invaders stimulate the white blood cells to produce antibodies that bind to mast cells. In the course of rupturing the mast cells, an endogenous substance called histamine is released. Histamine is a biochemical substance that triggers an allergic reaction.

Mild allergy symptoms include a rash itchy or watery eyes, sore throat, a runny nose, and a rash. Serious symptoms of allergy include sneezing, swelling of lips, and trouble breathing, etc. The most severe form of allergic reaction is called anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock. This severe form of allergic reaction is most commonly observed in persons who have a family history of allergies.

What are the different types of allergy medicines?

Antihistamines: There are two types of Antihistamines: sedating and non-sedating. The first type of antihistamines treat allergy symptoms, however, they produce side effects such as dry mouth and sleepiness. The second type, is non-sedating, however, certain users can suffer from drowsiness after consuming them. The antihistamines that produce drowsiness include Diphenhydramine and Chlorpheniramine. The non-sedating antihistamines include Cetirizine, Loratadine, and Fexofenadine.

All antihistamines block the action of histamine, a substance that is triggered by your body in response to an allergic reaction. This class of drugs is available in the come in the form of pills, nasal sprays, and eye drops.

Corticosteroids: This class of drugs is available in the form of nasal sprays, inhalers, eye drops, pills, and liquids. This class of drugs relieves symptoms by controlling allergy-related inflammation.

Leukotriene inhibitors:  This class of medication is available on prescription. Leukotriene inhibitors can produce psychological symptoms such as nasal congestion, sneezing, and runny nose. Montelukast is the only drug of this class that is approved for treating hay fever.

Immunomodulators: These allergy medicines are used topically. They are useful for treating skin allergies and they are frequently used if other medications are ineffective or not tolerable.

Mast cell stabilizers: These allergy meds are to be taken for a long time to observe their effect. This class of drugs is generally safe to take. This class of drugs is prescribed when antihistamines do not work or not tolerated.

Decongestants: Decongestants are prescribed for fast short-term relief of nasal and sinus congestion. They can produce, headache, insomnia, increased blood pressure and irritability. They are not for use in pregnant ladies or people suffering from hypertension, cardiovascular disease, glaucoma or hyperthyroidism.

Epinephrine shots: These shots are used to treat anaphylaxis, a life-threatening, sudden allergic response, which may be triggered by a severe allergic reaction to food items drugs, or insect stings. This medication is to be taken with a self-injecting syringe and needle device called auto injector.

Do not self-medicate. Always consult your physician before taking any allergy medicine.