It’s estimated that 24 million Americans suffer from allergies every year.
With so many people dealing with this condition, it’s no surprise that there are a number of medication options to choose from. However, it may also be difficult to know which is best for you.
Although your doctor is the best person to consult, we’ve gathered a guide to help you know what options you have so you can think about which prescription allergy medicine may be right for you.
Keep reading to learn more about how you can get relief from your allergy symptoms.
Types of Medication Used for Allergies
There are seven basic types of medications which are used to treat allergies. As you’ll see, they each focus on relieving a different type of allergy or a different type of reaction.
Your body is essentially over-reacting to an invader when you suffer from allergies, which is why other people exposed to the same thing as you are completely fine.
With allergen immunotherapy, you work closely with a doctor to expose yourself to increased amounts of an allergen. This is most often used for people with severe allergies to things which are difficult to avoid.
Over time, your body learns to not react at all or else not as severely to allergens.
When your body has an allergic reaction to something, a chemical called histamine is released. This leads to inflammation and some of the other symptoms that come with an allergic reaction.
Antihistamines are medications that prevent this chemical from working which can quickly provide relief for allergy sufferers.
Cortisol is a naturally-occurring hormone in the body which is known as the stress hormone. One of the things it does is lower the immune system. When your immune system is over-reacting, it needs to be lowered.
Corticosteroids are synthetic chemicals that mimic cortisol. They likewise work to lower a body’s immune response so your body appropriately responds to an allergen.
One of the many side effects of allergies is congestion. This is caused by the swelling of blood vessels in your nasal passageways. With the added pressure, you experience discomfort and mucus can’t drain as well.
For this reason, nasal decongestants are a common choice for people suffering from allergies. Decongestants work to shrink blood vessels which allows better drainage and offers pain relief.
Epinephrine is a powerful stimulant that’s only used in life-threatening emergency situations. It comes in the form of an epi-pen which is injected into someone if they are having a severe allergic reaction to something.
This chemical works quickly to reverse the effects of anaphylaxis which causes low blood pressure and difficulty breathing. Epinephrine opens blood vessels back up so your brain and body can continue to get enough oxygen.
Leukotrienes are another type of chemical in the body that causes inflammation during an asthma attack. When their reaction is focused on the lungs, it causes difficulty breathing.
To combat this, your doctor may recommend a leukotriene inhibitor. Like antihistamines, these prevent this chemical from working and therefore reduce inflammation in the lungs.
Mast Cell Stabilizers
Mast cells are responsible for releasing histamine as well as several other chemicals in the body which cause severe inflammation during an allergic reaction.
This medication was created to stabilize over-active mast cells so they’re not releasing more of these chemicals than what’s necessary. They’re most often used when antihistamines aren’t the best option.
Medication Delivery Forms
The way you take each of these medications varies greatly. Let’s take a quick look at some of the options you may have depending on what type of prescription medication your doctor recommends for you.
An autoinjector is designed to automatically deliver a dose of medication to a person by an untrained professional. The most common type is an epi-pen.
If you have difficulty swallowing pills or are ordering medication for a young child, ask if the tablets you’re being prescribed are available in liquid form.
Your eyes can quickly absorb medications which is why they’re often used for allergy medications, even those that aren’t for eye allergies.
An inhaler allows you to suck a liquid medication directly into your lungs. This allows it to act quickly to prevent a severe asthma attack.
It’s rare to be prescribed an injectable medication for home use. However, some are available and are primarily used in emergency medicine or hospital settings.
Many decongestants come in the form of a nasal spray so the medication can be delivered right to the blood vessels that are causing problems.
Pills or Capsules
In most cases, swallowable pills or capsules are used to treat mild to moderate allergy symptoms on a daily basis since they’re not typically fast-acting.
These are primarily used in allergen immunotherapy. A quick-dissolving pill is held under the tongue and quickly absorbed by the body.
For most skin reactions and some general allergic reactions, topical creams can provide relief for symptoms.
Where to Get Prescription Allergy Medicine
Once you get a prescription from a doctor for the allergy medicine that’s right for you, it’s time to buy it. There are a few places you can get prescription medications, so take a minute to determine what’s best for you.
If you’re in need of immediate relief, a local pharmacy is the best place to go for allergy medication. Most pharmacies can fulfill your prescription in less than a day, and some may only have you waiting for a few minutes.
However, you also don’t have as many options when it comes to local pharmacies, which means you may end up paying more money. Some pharmacies, for example, may not carry a generic version of a medication.
When you shop for prescription medicine online, you can easily look for the best deal. Because most of these online stores work with various retailers, they often have a wider selection to choose from.
This is also the best way to save money as long as you’re willing to wait a few weeks to get your medication. Maple Leaf Meds, for example, estimates their customers save up to 70% by ordering through them!
Want More Health Information?
Now you have everything you need to know about prescription allergy medicine, what types are available, and what forms they come in.
Talk to your doctor about all of your options so you can find one that’s best for you. If you’ve already got a prescription, use one of the ways we mentioned to get it.
If you want more information that will help you stay healthy, be sure to check out the rest of the blog! You’ll be sure to find something there that will help you live a healthier life.