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Daniel More, MD

Should You Use Nasacort, Zyrtec, Claritin or Allegra for Your Spring Allergy Symptoms?

By March 17, 2014

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In February 2014, Nasacort AQ became available over-the-counter (OTC) without a prescription. It is currently referred to as Nasacort Allergy 24 Hour, and is the same medication as the prescription version. OTC Nasacort hits the shelves just in time for spring allergy season, but should you use this medication, or one of the newer OTC antihistamines, such as Zyrtec, Claritin or Allegra? The answer depends on the type and severity of your symptoms. Nasacort, an intranasal corticosteroid, is probably the most effective OTC medication for the treatment of nasal allergy symptoms. A downside to Nasacort is that it will not work on an as-needed basis; intranasal corticosteroids take time to work -- the may begin to give relief to allergy symptoms after about 6-10 hours, but full relief may not be obtained for days.

Antihistamines, such as Zyrtec, Claritin and Allegra, on the other hand, tend to work fairly quickly, usually within a couple of hours (or less) of taking the medication. Therefore, these medication work well when taken on an as-needed basis, as opposed to medications like Nasacort, which need to be taken most of the time for them to work. Antihistamines work best for the treatment of itchy nose, itchy eyes and sneezing -- and less well for symptoms of nasal congestion or runny nose. Of the three types of newer (and less sedating) antihistamines mentioned above, Zyrtec and Allegra work particularly well for the treatment of nasal allergies -- and usually within about an hour. Claritin, on the other hand, doesn't work as well, and takes about 3 hours to fully take effect. All three of these antihistamines are a good choice for spring allergy relief, and would be recommended over taking a sedating antihistamine such as Benadryl.

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Comments
March 18, 2014 at 9:20 am
(1) Pascal Jacquemain says:

While most viewers of this website are based in the US, some are not. Medicine brand names may be different in the US and the EU. Furthermore, some brands correspond to different molecules in the US and the EU. Benadryl, for instance, is dyphenhydramine in the US but Acrivastine or Cetirizine (depending on the sub-brand) in the UK. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benadryl

May I suggest you always mention the active component when talking about a brand, eg Benadryl (dyphenhydramine) ?

March 21, 2014 at 6:02 am
(2) Healtone says:

Sound healing is a process of alleviation pain and healing from various illnesses like Allergy. All the parts of body including the smallest tissue vibrate at certain frequency. But every illness produces its own specific frequency. By measuring these frequencies accurately and listening to the converse sound frequencies the part affected by illness can be restored. http://www.healtone.com/
In this way your harmony of the body can be maintained. Healing with sound improves and transforms a range of physical and emotional states. It is especially effective for those with chronic illness, allergies, compulsive behavioral patterns or who are recovering from trauma and grief. There are certain sounds of the nature which relieves and rejuvenate human mind and soul like sounds of river or sea waves, waterfalls, chanting of “OM” and mantras, wind chimes and bells. Healing sounds can be incorporated into many types of healing methods, such as meditation.

April 9, 2014 at 10:31 am
(3) Peggy says:

I have become addicted to Afrin and cannot breathe without it. What can I do to get off it?

April 12, 2014 at 7:52 pm
(4) Joy says:

My niece had that problem and ended up having to get her sinuses operated on. I think she had to have them scrapped. I would see an ear nose and throat doctor ASAP.

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