Fall Allergy OTC Medicines – Speak With Your Pharmacist

Article ID: 556684

Released: 25-Sep-2009 12:55 PM EDT

Source Newsroom: University of the Sciences

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  • Dr. Daniel A. Hussar

------------------------------------------------------Points to consider before buying an OTC allergy medicine:•Don’t choose a product with more medications than you have symptoms.•Read the label for side effects and drug interactions.•Consult your pharmacist.------------------------------------------------------

Newswise — For the estimated 36 million Americans who will continue to sniffle and sneeze into the fall¹, allergy symptoms can be just as bad as they are in spring. A quick trip to the pharmacy for an over-the-counter (OTC) medicine can quickly become an overwhelming experience concedes a University of the Sciences in Philadelphia expert.

Dr. Daniel A. Hussar, who is the Remington professor of pharmacy at the University’s Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, strongly recommends that patients speak with a pharmacist before selecting the OTC product that will be the most effective and safest to use for the symptoms that they are experiencing.

“Allergy sufferers are faced with shelf after shelf of products that often have similar names,” explained Dr. Hussar. “Many times, selection of a product is based on an advertisement or individuals are impressed by products that have a large number of ingredients. To determine which medication is right for you, it’s essential to know what is triggering your symptoms.”

A runny and itchy nose, sneezing, and watery eyes, signal the body’s reaction to elevated histamine levels. Dr. Hussar suggests that an antihistamine may be sufficient treatment by itself. Add nasal congestion to the mix of symptoms and individuals find that they now also need to be treated with a decongestant. Community pharmacists are a valuable resource to provide guidance on which OTC medications should be used, medication ingredients, usage, side-effects, and possible drug interactions.

“Many antihistamines have the ability to make people drowsy, with the exception of loratadine – known by brand names like Claritin and Alavert,” said Dr. Hussar. “Nasal spray and oral decongestants have different usage limitations that must be adhered to. If used for more than three days, nasal spray may result in dependence and users may develop a response called ‘rebound congestion’: when the effect of a dose wears off, the congestion comes back, and comes back sooner after each dose.”

It’s enough to give anyone a headache – which of course is another allergy symptom, along with postnasal drip and coughing. If you have questions about treating fall allergies, or want to ensure that you’re correctly using the most effective medicine for your symptoms – your local pharmacist is available to help guide you toward effective allergy relief.

¹According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI)

At University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, students embark on a challenging learning experience in a proving ground for successful professionals in the healthcare-related fields. A private, coeducational institution dedicated to education, research, and service, and distinguished as the nation’s first college of pharmacy, the University has produced leaders in the healthcare marketplace since its founding in 1821, including founders of six of the top pharmaceutical companies in the world. With undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degree programs in such disciplines as pharmacy, bioinformatics, physical therapy, healthcare business, and health policy, the 3,000 students in the University of the Sciences’ five colleges learn to excel in scientific analysis and to apply their skills to improving healthcare in their communities and in the lives of people worldwide. For more information about University of the Sciences, visit www.usp.edu.

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