The 9 Greatest OTC Allergy Medicines of 2022


The perfect allergy medication for you may rely in your signs.

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Bausch + Lomb/Flonase/Amazon Fundamental Care/ Artistic

It is allergy season, which signifies that on high of your uncomfortable signs, individuals are most likely taking pictures you soiled appears if you happen to’re in public sniffling and sneezing.

Seasonal allergic reactions can convey itchy eyes and throat, cough and a runny nostril, based on the American School of Allergy, Bronchial asthma, and Immunology — by no means a superb look in the course of a pandemic.

However the excellent news is that a number of the greatest over-the-counter (OTC) allergy medicines will help, which is why we have rounded up the highest picks that can assist you cope together with your signs.

Fast Picks

  • ​Greatest General:​ Flonase ($28.99, Amazon or $29.49, Goal)
  • Greatest Prescription-Energy:​ Amazon Fundamental Care All Day Allergy ($8.95, Amazon)
  • Greatest Non-Drowsy:​ Allegra ($33.82, Amazon)
  • Greatest One-a-Day: ​Amazon Fundamental Care Levocetirizine Dihydrochloride Tablets ($9.04, Amazon)
  • Greatest Nasal Spray:​ Nasacort AQ ($15.17, Amazon or $22.99, Goal)
  • Greatest Eye Drops:​ Bausch & Lomb Alaway Eye Itch Reduction Drops ($13.99, Walgreens)
  • Greatest for Pollen Allergic reactions:​ NasalCrom Nasal Spray ($18.99, Walgreens)
  • Greatest for Pet Allergic reactions:​ Claritin ($36, Amazon)
  • Greatest Pure:​ Navage Nasal Irrigation ($99.88, Amazon)

We talked to Anjeli Kalra, MD, allergist at UCHealth and assistant professor of drugs within the Division of Allergy & Medical Immunology at College of Colorado Hospital, for her perception on the perfect OTC allergy medicines in the marketplace.

These picks additionally embrace numerous supply strategies (tablets vs. sprays, for instance) and deal with a spread of widespread allergic reactions so that there is an possibility for you regardless of your signs or preferences.


The entire following medicines and dosages are solely really helpful for adults 18 and older. Regardless of your age, it is best to all the time speak to your physician earlier than taking any treatment.

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Flonase/ Artistic

Usually, Dr. Kalra says first-line remedy for allergic rhinitis — the overall time period for signs brought on by environmental and seasonal allergic reactions — is an intranasal (in-the-nose) corticosteroid, resembling Flonase, Nasacort or Rhinocort.

Flonase is made with the most-prescribed energetic ingredient, so it is a go-to treatment for relieving a whole lot of widespread allergy signs, together with runny and itchy nostril, sneezing, itchy eyes and nasal congestion. It is a 24-hour, non-drowsy medication and efficient for seasonal, year-round and indoor and outside allergic reactions. You need to use Flonase a few times a day by spraying it in every nostril.

Whereas Flonase is an efficient possibility for many individuals, Dr. Kalra says the perfect allergy medication for you will depend on your signs and any underlying medical situations, so it is all the time greatest to talk to your physician first.

Purchase it​: Amazon and Goal; ​Value​: $28.99 for 120 sprays, $29.49 for 144 sprays

2. Greatest Prescription-Energy: Amazon Fundamental Care All Day Allergy

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Amazon/ Artistic

Touted as authentic prescription power, Amazon’s Fundamental Care All Day Allergy is a non-drowsy antihistamine pill for indoor and outside allergy signs. The principle energetic ingredient, cetirizine hydrochloride, is identical because the one in Zyrtec. These 10-milligram tablets are gluten-free and efficient for twenty-four hours.

Needless to say, as with prescribed drugs, a few of these strongest OTC allergy medicines include a threat of unwanted side effects, Dr. Kalra says. For meds made with cetirizine, these embrace dry mouth, tiredness, abdomen ache, diarrhea and vomiting, per the U.S. Nationwide Library of Medication.

These meds additionally aren’t proper for everybody. Anybody with a historical past of eye illness or underlying uncontrolled situations, resembling diabetes, needs to be particularly cautious about beginning an OTC treatment with out discussing it with their physician, Dr. Kalra says.

Purchase it​: Amazon; ​Value​: $8.95 for 90 tablets

3. Greatest Non-Drowsy: Allegra

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Allegra/ Artistic

For the perfect non-drowsy allergy medication possibility, you will need to search for a non-sedating oral antihistamine, Dr. Kalra says. She recommends OTC choices resembling Allegra (fexofenadine), Zyrtec (cetirizine), Xyzal (levocetirizine) and Claritin (loratadine).

The antihistamine in Allegra acts for twenty-four hours and takes about an hour to kick in. It helps present aid from sneezing, runny nostril, itchy throat and watery and itchy eyes.

For those who’re trying to keep away from drowsiness, avoid Benadryl (diphenhydramine) and Chlor-Trimeton (chlorphenamine), Dr. Kalra says.

Purchase it:​ Amazon; ​Value​: $33.82 for 70 tablets

4. Greatest One-a-Day: Amazon Fundamental Care Levocetirizine Dihydrochloride Tablets

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Amazon/ Artistic

For a primary, once-a-day allergy tablet that may get the job performed, contemplate this choose from Amazon’s Fundamental Care line. The energetic ingredient levocetirizine dihydrochloride is a non-drowsy antihistamine that is additionally utilized in XYZAL Allergy 24HR.

Much like different oral antihistamines, this medication will begin taking impact in about one hour and lasts for twenty-four hours. The dosage is 5 milligrams and these tablets are gluten-free and efficient for higher respiratory signs resembling sneezing, watery and itchy eyes and runny nostril.

Purchase it:​ Amazon; ​Value​: $9.04 for 80 tablets

5. Greatest Nasal Spray: Nasacort AQ

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Nasacort/ Artistic

Nasacort AQ is a steroid nasal spray, much like Flonase however with a special energetic ingredient (triamcinolone vs. fluticasone, respectively).

A very powerful factor to remember when utilizing these sprays, Dr. Kalra says, is that they need to be used frequently to be only allergy medicines they are often. They do not work as nicely after they’re used “as wanted.” The really helpful dosing for individuals over 18 is one spray in every nostril twice each day or two sprays in every nostril as soon as each day.

The method you utilize is extremely vital to assist minimize down on irritation and up the effectiveness, she provides, so make sure you observe the directions on the package deal and speak to your physician if you happen to’re not sure of methods to use the spray.

These meds aren’t proper for everybody, so speak to your physician earlier than beginning them.

Purchase it:​ Amazon and Goal; ​Value​: $15.17 for 120 sprays or $22.99 for 120 sprays

6. Greatest Eye Drops: Bausch & Lomb Alaway Eye Itch Reduction Drops

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Alaway/ Artistic

Eye drops with antihistamines will help cut back signs of allergic conjunctivitis, the trademark pink, swollen, itchy and watery eyes of allergy victims.

Not like oral antihistamines that often take about an hour, eye drops can start to offer aid in minutes. Nevertheless, they will not final as lengthy, with a max marketed restrict of 12 hours.

Whereas all eye drops work the identical means — delivering a drop of the drugs immediately into your eye — you need to be conscious that the precise directions will rely upon the focus of the treatment, so observe them fastidiously. For instance, with Alaway, the really helpful use is one drop in every eye twice each day.

Two different OTC eye drops Dr. Kalra recommends are Zatidor and Pataday.

Purchase it​: Walgreens; ​Value​: $13.99 for a 60-day provide

7. Greatest for Pollen Allergic reactions: NasalCrom Nasal Spray

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Relying the place you reside, pollen allergic reactions can flare up at numerous factors within the 12 months, when completely different vegetation are pollinating. Which means you would possibly must attempt a special medication throughout a brand new pollen season to get the identical aid out of your signs, Dr. Kalra says.

If steroid nasal sprays and oral antihistamines aren’t working, you would possibly need to attempt an intranasal mast cell stabilizer like NasalCrom, which has the energetic ingredient cromolyn sodium and works in a different way than many different kinds of allergy medicines. As a substitute of blocking histamine after it is launched, it really works to cease histamine from being launched within the first place.

The really helpful dosing is one spray in every nostril three to 4 instances per day. You may want to start out utilizing NasalCrom about one to 2 weeks earlier than publicity to allergens for it to be only. It doesn’t take impact instantly like different kinds of allergy medication and can want round one to 2 days to kick in.

Purchase it:​ Walgreens; ​Value​: $18.99 for 200 sprays

8. Greatest for Pet Allergic reactions: Claritin

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Claritin/ Artistic

Pet allergic reactions are a kind of indoor allergy, which will be difficult to handle, as a result of it may be troublesome to utterly keep away from them. Not like seasonal allergic reactions, indoor allergens will be bothersome year-round. Most frequently, pet allergic reactions are handled with an oral antihistamine.

It’s possible you’ll need to check out a couple of various kinds of oral antihistamines to see which works greatest for you — Claritin depends on loratadine as its energetic ingredient, so it is a completely different sort of oral antihistamine than the opposite medicines we have already talked about.

It is available in a number of varieties, from dissolvable powder to tablets, and is out there in 12- or 24-hour effectiveness. For greatest outcomes, it is really helpful you’re taking Claritin frequently and across the identical time each day.

For those who do have an allergy to pet dander, you also needs to preserve pets out of the bed room to scale back your publicity. “There is no such thing as a such factor as a hypoallergenic pet as a result of canines and cats produce allergen of their dander and saliva,” Dr. Kalra says.

Purchase it:​ Amazon; ​Value​: $36 for 90 tablets

9. Greatest Pure: Navage Nasal Irrigation

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Navage/ Artistic

OK, so this one is not a drugs. However on the subject of pure treatments for allergic reactions, a 2018 assessment within the ​Cochrane Database of Systematic Critiques​ discovered that nasal irrigation will be efficient in relieving allergy signs.

Whereas the general proof was low and the research have been small, there are some notable advantages to nasal irrigation: specifically, there aren’t any unwanted side effects, and this greatest allergy medication is protected for adults and youngsters.

When utilizing nasal irrigation, all the time observe the directions precisely and solely use the answer included with the product. You need to by no means use faucet water with nasal irrigation due to a small threat of introducing dangerous germs to the sinus cavities, per the FDA.

Purchase it:​ Amazon; ​Value​: $99.88

What to Know Earlier than You Purchase OTC Allergy Medication

For those who’re questioning which allergy medication works greatest, the reply is that it will depend on your signs and allergy triggers. This is what to remember when you’re shopping the pharmacy:

1. Decide the Proper Medication for the Job

There are various kinds of OTC allergy medicines obtainable, together with eye drops, tablets and nasal sprays, so selecting the best one for the job will help ease your signs extra successfully.

Dr. Kalra says that the primary go-to for the same old allergy offenders like nasal congestion, runny nostril, sneezing and post-nasal drip needs to be an intranasal corticosteroid, resembling Flonase, Nasacort or Rhinocort. Nevertheless, for persistent itchy/watery eyes, an OTC eye drop will most likely be most useful.

2. Stuffed Up? Attempt a Spray

Many individuals expertise a runny nostril as an allergy symptom, however some also can have nasal congestion. For those who’re discovering your self stuffed up, Dr. Kalra warns that antihistamines in a tablet type might be much less useful.

As a substitute, contemplate asking your physician a few nasal spray to assist filter your nostril. (And make sure you rule out some other causes of your congestion, like an an infection.)

3. Steer Away from Sedating Meds

Dr. Kalra says that there are two most important kinds of oral antihistamines used to manage allergic reactions: first- and second-generation H1 antagonists, which work to dam histamine when it is launched in your physique. Histamine is what causes sometimes allergy signs resembling itching, sneezing and runny nostril, so blocking it may assist cut back these signs.

Although all antihistamines work the identical means, there are variations between first- and second-generation meds.

First-generation antihistamines, resembling Benadryl, are sedating medicines (in different phrases, they make you sleepy). Due to their unwanted side effects, Dr. Kalra recommends avoiding common use of any first-generation medicines. As a substitute, select second-generation meds like Zyrtec, Allegra, Claritin and Xyzal, which will be taken each day.

You may get OTC allergy medicines and not using a physician’s prescription, however it is best to all the time speak together with your supplier earlier than starting a medicine.

You should definitely allow them to find out about some other kinds of medicines you take and any medical situations you could have. For example, some OTC allergy medicines will not be really helpful in individuals with sure eye illnesses, resembling glaucoma.


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