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Allergy sufferers find relief with over-the-counter medication

February 21st, 2006


Allergy sufferers find relief with over-the-counter medication


In the February issue of Archives of Otolaryngology, a small study showed that allergy sufferers were just as satisfied with the over-the-counter medication just as much as they were with a prescription drug.

The decongestant that you can purchase at your local drug store is called pseudoephedrine hydrochloride, and the prescription medication is called montelukast sodium.  Some of the over-the-counter brand names that contain pseudoephedrine are Afrin, Cenafed, Decofed, Dorcol, Efidac/24, Pediacare, Sinutab, and Sudafed.  The brand name prescription drug containing montelukast is Singulair.

Allergies that affect a person’s sinuses causing inflammation and congestion are very common.  It is estimated that there are 40 million people in the United States that have some type of allergy.


Samatha M. Mucha M.D. and colleagues at the University of Chicago did a study comparing which treatment would work better.  They selected 58 adults that have a ragweed induced allergic rhinitis.  They confirmed the allergies by testing the skin.  They divided the participatants into 2 groups.  The pseudoephedrine group had 28 people and the montelukast group had 30 patients.

In both treatments there were improvements in all the symptoms associated with allergic rhinitis.  They all had reduced their congestion, runny nose, sneezy, and all reported an improved quality of life.  The group taking pseudoephedrine was better at relieving the nasal congestion.  However, both groups did well on improving the nasal congestion.


The pseudoephedrine has in past research studies had complaints of nervousness, anxiety, insomnia, dry mouth and heart palpitations.  In this study however, the participants did not complain of these side effects.  The author of the study said, "Both medications were well tolerated, and pseudoephedrine did not lead to any of its well-known stimulant adverse effects, likely owing to its once-daily administration in the morning and lower blood levels in the later hours of the day closer to bedtime."

If you have high blood pressure, have any other medical condition you should read the label of the over-the-counter prescriptions carefully.  There is a potential for raising your blood pressure and may not be safe to take.  Undesired side effects can happen if you are taking any prescription medications at the same time.  If you plan on taking any medications whether it is over-the-counter or not, it wouldn’t hurt to talk with your doctor first.

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By Nicole Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer





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