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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
 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
Antihistamine nasal spray. Works Astelin (azelastine) Prescription
fast but with more side effects
than long-acting oral

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

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

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

Bronchodilators. Keep the large and small airways of
 the lungs open. Prescribed for
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-
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

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

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

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