When Do I Need Prescription Medicines For Seasonal Allergies, What Are They, And What Are The Side Effects?

Dr. Rosenthal answers the question: 'Seasonal Allergies, Prescription Meds?'

ByABC News
March 28, 2008, 12:20 PM

— -- Question: When do I need prescription medicines for seasonal allergies, what are they, and what are the side effects?

Answer: It's important to consider using prescription medications for seasonal allergies when you're noticing that your symptoms are moderate to severe or, certainly, when they're starting to interrupt your daily activities, your work -- or for children: play or school. So it's very important to consider.

They come in a few major classes. One would be antihistamines, which can cause a drying effect or make people sleepy.

The next would be leukotriene antagonists -- which are anti-inflammatory medications that help treat the underlying cause of the allergies, but they can sometimes make people a little bit jittery, a little bit of problems (with) sleepiness, some headaches or maybe some nausea or indigestion.

There are also steroids, and steroids come in two forms. One is intranasal -- they can be very effective but can sometimes cause a little bit of bleeding, or if used for a long period of times, some fungus infection -- which you need to be aware of.

There are also, for severe cases, oral corticosteroids and those steroids can be very effective. On the other hand, they run into the problems that a lot of steroids can do and there are many side effects of those which you would need to talk about with your doctor.

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