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Treating allergies & asthma.

There are nearly as many medications out there to treat allergies and asthma as there are allergens. The chart below provides information on some of the most commonly used over-the-counter and prescribed medications.
Type of Medication Brand/Generic Available
 Name as ...

Antihistamines. Counter the effects of histamine.
 Best for allergies.
Long-acting antihistamines tablets, Allegra Prescription
liquid. Take longer to kick in but (fexofenadine), and over-
less likely to make you drowsy than Claritin (loratadine) the-counter
short-acting antihistamines. Clarinex
 (desloratadine),
 Zyrtec (cetirizine)
Short-acting antihistamines Benadryl Prescription
tablets, liquid. Work quickly but (diphenhydramine), and over-
may have side effects including Chlor-Trimeton, the-counter
drowsiness. (chlorpheniramine),
 Atarax (hydroxyzine
 HCL)
Antihistamine nasal spray. Works Astelin (azelastine) Prescription
fast but with more side effects
than long-acting oral
antihistamines.

Mucus thinners/decongestants. Reduce swelling and congestion.
 Best for allergies.
Tablets, liquids, drops GuaifedPD, EntexLA, Over-the-
 DuraVENT, Exgest LA, counter
 Respaire
 (guaifenesin/
 pseudoephedrine)
 Sinuvent
 (guaifenesin),
 Sudafed
 (pseudoephedrine/
 phenylephrine HCL)

Mast cell stabilizers. Prevent the release of histamine
 from mast cells. Best for
 allergies.
Nasal sprays Nasalcrom (cromolyn Over-the-
 sodium) counter
Nebulizer (for asthma) Intal (cromolyn Prescription
 sodium)

Corticosteroids. Reduce the inflammatory reactions
 that mark allergies and asthma.
Nasal. Primarily used for Flonase Prescription
allergies. (fluticasone),
 Nasacort
 (triamcinolone),
 Nasalide
 (flunisolide),
 Nasonex (mometasone),
 Rhinocort
 (budesonide),
 Vancenase DS or
 Vancenase Pockethaler
 (beclomethasone)
Inhaled. Primarily used for asthma. AeroBid Prescription
 (flunisolide),
 Azmacort
 (triamcinolone),
 Flovent (fluticasone
 propionate),
 Pulmicort Turbohaler
 or Respules,
 (budesonide), Qvar
 (beclomethasone)
 Vanceril, Vanceril DS
 (beclomethasone),
 Asthmanex
 (mometasone)
Oral corticosteroids. Only used for Prednisone, Medrol Prescription
asthma. (methylprednisolone).

Bronchodilators. Keep the large and small airways of
 the lungs open. Prescribed for
 asthma.
Short-acting, B-2 agonists. Also Proventil HFA and Prescription
called "rescue medication." Used to Ventolin HFA
avert an asthma attack. If used (albuterol), Xopenex
several times a week, your asthma (levalbuterol)
is not being controlled well. Comes
in inhaled and nebulized forms. Primatene Mist Over-the-
 counter
Long-acting. Not to be started in Serevent Diskus Prescription
the midst of an attack. (salmeterol
 xinafoate), Foradil
 (formoterol), and
 Advair (combination
 of fluticasone and
 salmeterol).

Theophylline. Relaxes bronchial airways.
 Prescribed for asthma but rarely
 used today.
Tablets, capsules, liquid Numerous brand names, Prescription
 including Constant-T,
 Resbid, Slo-bid
 Elixophyllin,
 Slo-Phyllin.

Leukotriene modifiers. Inhibit release of leukotriene
 molecules from inflammatory cells.
 Primarily for asthma, sometimes
 allergies.
Tablets Accolate Prescription
 (zafirlukast),
 Singulair
 (montelukast), Zyflo
 (zileuton)

Anticholinergics. Block the effects of chemicals that
 stimulate mucus production.
 Primarily for allergies, sometimes
 asthma.
Nasal spray Atrovent .03% or .06% Prescription
 (ipratropium bromide)
Inhaled Atrovent (ipratropium Prescription
 bromide)
In combination with antihistamine Chlorpheniramine, Prescription
 Methscopolamine, and
 Phenylephrine
 combined (numerous
 brand names).

Anti-IgE. Blocks the IgE antibody that
 stimulates an allergic reaction.
 Primarily used for allergic asthma.
Injection Xolair (omalizumab) Prescription

Immunotherapy shots. A series of shots given over
 several years that gradually
 increases your tolerance to a
 specific allergen.
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Publication:National Women's Health Report
Date:Aug 1, 2005
Words:458
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