It’s often difficult or impossible to eliminate completely your exposure to animal allergens. Even if you don’t have a pet, you may unexpectedly encounter pet allergens transported on other people’s clothes. Having said that, your doctor may direct you to take one of the following medications to improve your allergy symptoms:
Antihistamines reduce the production of an immune system chemical that is active in an allergic reaction, and they help relieve itching, sneezing and runny nose.
Prescription antihistamines taken as a nasal spray include azelastine (Astelin, Astepro) and olopatadine (Patanase). Over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamine tablets include fexofenadine (Allegra Allergy), loratadine (Claritin, Alavert) and cetirizine (Zyrtec Allergy); OTC antihistamine syrups are available for children. Prescription antihistamine tablets, such as levocetirizine (Xyzal) and desloratadine (Clarinex), are other options.
Corticosteroids delivered as a nasal spray can reduce inflammation and control symptoms of hay fever. These drugs include fluticasone propionate (Flonase Allergy Relief), mometasone furoate (Nasonex), triamcinolone (Nasacort Allergy 24HR) and ciclesonide (Omnaris). Nasal corticosteroids provide a low dose of the drug and have a much lower risk of side effects than do oral corticosteroids.
Decongestants can help shrink swollen tissues in your nasal passages and make it easier to breathe through your nose. Some over-the-counter allergy tablets combine an antihistamine with a decongestant.
Oral decongestants can increase blood pressure and generally shouldn’t be taken if you have high blood pressure, glaucoma or cardiovascular disease. Talk to your doctor about whether you can safely take a decongestant.
Over-the-counter decongestants taken as a nasal spray may briefly reduce allergy symptoms. If you use a decongestant spray for more than three days in a row, it can contribute to congestion.
Leukotriene modifiers block the action of certain immune system chemicals. Your doctor may prescribe montelukast (Singulair), a prescription tablet, if corticosteroid nasal sprays or antihistamines are not good options for you.
Possible side effects of montelukast include upper respiratory infection, headache and fever. Less common side effects include behavior or mood changes, such as anxiousness or depression.