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Antihistamines

First of all, thank you for this site!

I'm a 30-something pharmacist in Mobile, AL who has had allergy problems most of my life. I developed asthma 10 years ago. It stays under control as long as my symptoms do. I regularly change antihistamines to maintain maximum effectiveness, but have noticed that the newer ones don't seem to work as well for me as Actifed.

Which one would you recommend that I try next?

I will appreciate any advice that you can offer.

Robin K.

Dear Robin,

Thanks for asking about antihistamines. Each patient is unique with regard to which of the many available antihistamines will work best. Actifed had a great formulation which I believe was changed some years ago to a milder form of treatment. If this OTC product is effective for you, then there is a possibility that allergy may be only part of the cause of your symptoms.

Actifed works best for patients with non-allergic rhinitis. Ask your Allergy Specialist for some help in choosing the next combination of treatments. In my practice, patients with non-allergic rhinitis do well with Atrovent nasal sprays [0.03%], sunglasses and small amounts of tea. Coffee really aggravates their nasal congestion and mucus production. Tea contains mild stimulants that help relieve symptoms of nasal congestion and excessive mucus production in the sinuses, and can alleviate mild sinus headaches.

Light control and bright light avoidance is especially important to the non-allergic patient. This is why they often wear sunglasses and like it when the lights are low.

I hope this brief information is useful to you and your doctor.

Good luck.

Steve Kagen, M.D.
Allernet.com