Three Allergy Medication Side Effects You May Not Know About

by in Medical Care April 23, 2019

Frequent sufferers of allergies often have their own personalized arsenal of medications to throw at their symptoms when the hay fever hits.

Many over the counter allergy medications are effective and safe for short-term use, but what if your allergy symptoms continue for weeks, months, or are just always there?

Allergy Medication Side Effects

1. Sleep

People have long known about the sleep-inducing characteristics of first-generation antihistamines such as Benadryl. Some people suffering from insomnia will even use these drugs off-label as a make-do sleep aid (though most medical professional discourage this use).

While antihistamines may help you sleep through the worst of your allergy symptoms, their ability to induce sleep decreases with time, and can result in unwanted side effects like sleepwalking, insomnia or poor quality sleep, according to the Baylor College of Medicine.

2. High Blood Pressure

If you have high blood pressure, it’s especially important to know what is in the allergy medication that you’re taking. While antihistamines don’t usually cause issues for people with high blood pressure, decongestants certainly can.  As a general rule, if a medication has “D” as part of the name (such as Claritin-D, Allegra-D and Zyrtec-D), then it probably contains decongestant.

Getting proper medical advice before starting self-treatment with over the counter allergy medications is always recommended, and additional risk factors such as high blood pressure make that consultation all the more critical.

3.Heart Rate

Decongestants can also have an effect on your heart rate. While the more “classic” decongestant ingredient (pseudophedrine) has been more closely linked to cardiac issues in at-risk patients than the increasingly popular replacement (phenylephrine), all decongestants cause constriction in blood vessels. This constriction is not limited to the target area (nose and sinuses), but also spreads to blood vessels all over the body, causing a variety of cardiac issues in some at-risk patients, including rapid pulse.

Some Basic Guidelines for OTC Allergy Medication Use

For most otherwise-healthy patients, occasional, as-directed use of over-the-counter allergy medication can be a good first step toward relief of allergy symptoms.

The key is that such use is:

  1. Occasional (not for weeks on end or a total of months out of a given year)
  2. Informed (understand your symptoms, the type of drug you’re using and the benefits and drawbacks of the medication)
  3. As directed (by both the label and a medical professional)

A Longer-Term Solution to Seasonal Allergies

Allergy 1 2 3 is an at-home immunology treatment for environmental allergies that has helped many of our patients reduce or eliminate their symptoms. After an evaluation by one of our specially-trained nurse practitioners and a first treatment in the office, patients can self-administer treatment at home.

A normal course of treatment lasts about seven weeks, with less-frequent maintenance treatments for another six months to make sure symptoms do not return. Allergy 1 2 3 is covered by most insurance plans and is a great way to address the root cause of your allergies, rather than relying on constant antihistamine and decongestant medications that only relieve symptoms.

Want to learn more about Allergy 1 2 3 or book an evaluation?

Call us today at 865-769-9685!

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