There are several medication options available over the counter or by prescription. These include:
Antihistamines – These act by blocking the release of histamine, a chemical produced by the body that triggers an inflammatory reaction that can produce swelling, congestion, itching, sneezing, and a runny nose. They are available as either an over-the-counter pill or by prescription. Should their side effects be mentioned? They are for the decongestants below.
Nasal Steroid Sprays – These reduce the inflammatory response and are the preferred treatment for mild allergies. They are very effective at reducing nasal congestions and allergic inflammation.
Leukotriene Blockers - Leukotriene blockers reduce mucosal inflammation. They are usually used in combination with other treatments listed on this page.
Decongestants - Available as either a nasal spray or pill. We do not recommend nasal decongestant sprays as they are addicting and have a high potential for rebound congestion if used for more than 3 days. The only potent oral decongestant available is pseudoephedrine. It acts by reducing blood flow and therefore shrinking the membranes in your nose. Pseudoephedrine is a stimulant and there are several drawbacks to its use such as elevated blood pressure, jitteriness, anxiety, and poor sleep.