Allergy Relief Medicines

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The answer to this question depends on your symptoms and the side effects that you want to avoid.

Cetirizine, loratadine and fexofenadine have similar efficacy and side effects. The effectiveness of cetirizine and fexofenadine, however, can wear off over time in some people. Cetirizine and fexofenadine both cause less sedation compared to diphenhydramine, but loratadine generally causes the least amount of daytime drowsiness.

Diphenhydramine, on the other hand, is considered to be overall stronger and better than other antihistamines at treating hives and other allergic symptoms. The downside to this option is that diphenhydramine causes drowsiness (more in some people than others). It is powerful when it comes to addressing symptoms, but we don’t recommend taking it during the day if you have stuff you need to get done. Also, while most allergy medicatations are taken once or twice a day, diphenhydramine is generally taken every four to six hours.

Diphenhydramine

Relieves allergy symptoms such as hives, sneezing, runny nose, itchy nose or throat, and watery eyes.

Compares to: Benadryl Best for: Individuals seeking strong allergy relief who won’t be participating in any activity that requires attention due to symptoms of drowsiness.

Please refer to Allergy Relief (Diphenhydramine) FAQs for more detailed information.

Nasal Decongestant (Phenylephrine)

A nasal decongestant (not an antihitamine or allergy pill) that provides maximum strength, non-drowsy relief for nasal congestion.

Compares to: Sudafed PE Best for: Individuals suffering from a lot of congestion along with their allergies. Nasal decongestants, like phenylephrine, can often be taken with an allergy pill for additive effects.

Please refer to Nasal Decongestant FAQs for more detailed information.

Fexofenadine [Coming Soon]

Provides non-drowsy relief for the symptoms of seasonal allergies or hay fever, such as runny nose, sneezing, itchy nose or throat, hives, itchy eyes.

Compares to: Allegra 24 hour

Best for: Individuals with allergy symptoms who require a non-drowsy option.

Cetirizine [Coming Soon]

Provides quick relief of allergy symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing, itchy nose or throat, itchy or watery eyes within one hour.

Compares to: Zyrtec

Best for: Individuals who need fast relief for allergy symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, itchy nose or throat, and watery eyes. Cetirizine has been proven in some studies to be more effective than fexofenadine in relieving symptoms of allergic rhinitis.

Loratadine [Coming Soon]

Provides non-drowsy relief for the symptoms of allergy, such as runny nose, sneezing, itchy nose or throat, hives, itchy eyes. This is the option least likely to cause drowsiness.

Compares to: Claritin

Best for: Individuals with allergy symptoms who require a non-drowsy option.

Some allergy medications are safe to be combined.

In general, you can use an over-the-counter antihistamine with a decongestant (like phenylephrine). That is, if you have no conflicting medical conditions. Always speak with your doctor prior to taking any nasal decongestants if you have pre-existing chronic conditions.

However, it is not always safe to take two oral antihistamine medications in one day. For example, you don’t want to take a cetirizine pill in the morning and a loratadine pill in the afternoon. Check with your friendly neighborhood pharmacist for questions about antihistamine dosing and side effects.

Even though some allergic reactions are serious, the majority of allergies are mild and some symptoms may resemble that of a cold.

Some common symptoms include:

  1. Sneezing

  2. Itchy, runny, or blocked nose

  3. Watery, red, or itchy eyes

  4. Itchiness, rash, or hives

  5. Shortness of breath and cough

If you feel a couple of these symptoms, especially itchiness, for extended periods of time, you likely have allergies — not a cold.

Antihistamines are generally safe to be taken daily for a short period of time. However, it is not recommended that you take them every day in the long-term, unless instructed to do so by your healthcare provider.

If your allergies tend to bother you for long periods of time, we recommend that you investigate what triggers them. The allergen might be something that you can avoid having contact with, such as a specific type of tree or pet. Working with an allergist to develop a treatment plan may be the most effective option in the long-run.

Antihistamines are generally safe for most patients. Older antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine, are not recommended for individuals who have prostate problems or glaucoma. Older adults who are prone to falling and sedation should also avoid using diphenhydramine.

Decongestants are not recommended for individuals with high blood pressure. That’s because they relieve nasal congestion by narrowing blood vessels and reducing swelling in the nose. This process can affect other blood vessels as well, which can increase blood pressure.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, consult a healthcare professional before using any allergy medications.

Besides that, most people can take OTC allergy medications with no problems.

Curated by Experts

Physicians and pharmacists worked together to provide you with common products you may need. These products are among the best of what’s out there.

Rigorously Tested 

All of our factories are FDA-audited, ensuring world-class manufacturing processes and healthy sourcing. After leaving our factories, your medicine goes straight to a Valisure laboratory where they are tested for purity, safety (safe from carcinogens and impurities), and gluten (medicines are gluten-free).

Fair Pricing

We will always keep prices fair and honest, especially when you need us the most. Ask us more about our "pay-what-you-can" policy for those in need.

Delivered to Your Door 

Avoid an unwanted trip to the pharmacy. Cabinet delivers directly. Perfect for sending to friends or family who are unwell and need your help.

Better for the Environment

Cabinet has developed the first and only non-plastic packaging in pharmaceuticals to address the 194 billion single-use plastic bottles produced by the industry each year. In addition to sustainability in packaging, we invest in plastic offsetting for any plastic still produced in our supply chain, while also providing carbon neutral shipping for all of our customers. 

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Joanna Tam, PharmD, Healthcare and Content ManagerOn October 15th, 2021