Seasonal allergy sufferers - help!

In your experience, what is the most effective seasonal allergy OTC medication? I have about 5-6 weeks of misery every fall, and I"m in the thick of it right now. My face is a red, chapped, leaky mess. I can’t sleep and my current coping mechanism doesn’t seem to be helping. I have been alternating benadryl (for night time) and Sudafed (the REAL show-your-drivers-license kind) for daytime.

I have purchased various other medications in the past, (Claritin, Costoco’s “Aller-Tec”) and they never seemed to help much. What should I try? Can I take Claritin/Allegra/Zyrtec all at the same time? I don’t want to be miserable for a week trying one and just waiting for it to kick in.

What’s worked for you?

What worked best for me was going to allergist.

If the OTC meds aren’t giving you relief the answer is not more OTC meds it is going to a doctor.

This allows for two things: potentially better identification of what you are and are not allergic to, which may help you avoid what’s triggering this misery, and secondly, access to drugs that are too potent for OTC but are appropriate for severe flare-ups.

Find an allergist.

My doctor recommended Zyrtec, and it works good enough for me to have avoided what used to be almost monthly sinus problems. YMMV.

In my case I found that my problems got worse over the weekend, when I was not in a climate-controlled environment. The doctor suggested that I was probably allergic to something in my home or the area around it, like my cats or the vegetation that surrounds our home. He reasoned that it didn’t really matter which it was, since I would not be willing to move somewhere else or to get rid of my cats.

The only thing that worked for my allergies was prescription nasal spray. OTC stuff was like taking a sugar pill.

Last year my fall allergies drove me nuts until January. It was a mild winter and I feel we never really had a good cold spell to kill the offending plantlife.

This year I tried an experiment. In April I got some local honey and had a spoonful every day with my a.m. oatmeal. Until the bottle ran out. I meant to get more but I really don’t care much for the taste of honey and never got around to it.

August came and went. No symptoms. I got a tad stuffy at night at bedtime for about a week in Sept. and had some sneezing bouts upon waking. But that’s it.

Don’t know if it was the local honey or maybe someone cut down the weeds that bothered me last year. Whatever, I’m a happy camper this allergy season. :smiley:

None of them are effective. They keep me from getting congested enough to get sinus infections, but they do nothing much for other symptoms. I still get a stuff nose, sneezing, burning/tearing eyes and headaches.

After trying the shots twice with no noticable difference, numerous prescription pills and nasal sprays, OTC medications, etc., I have found generic Zyrtec works for me. After talking to other sufferers, it seems like you need to play the game and see which one works for you…

^ Exactly.

See a doc. Some folks require more than the usual dose of zyrtec or claritin to get relief, but the best way to know if such dosing is safe for you is to find out from your doc.

You may benefit from nasal steroids, leukotriene inhibitors, or even a long-acting steroid shot.

Or you may not. So talk to your doc.

Meanwhile, you could try a neti pot (saline nasal rinse) to see what that does for your symptoms. Many of my allergy patients found this device to be helpful, and the scientific literature supports it as safe and effective for most people.

My SIL swears by Clarinex, which you can only get via prescription. She’s tried every OTC product and none worked. She offered a dose to our cousin. The next day, the cousin announced she was going to make a trip to her doctor asap to get it prescribed for her because it worked so well for her.

Clarinex is a scam. It was a way for the manufacturer to extend their patent on Claritin, which was a phenomenally successful drug. Your body breaks down the Claritin molecule slightly into Clarinex, which is the active molecule.

For myself, I find a combination of nasal steroids (fluticasone, in my case) and anti-allergy eye drops (Zaditor or similar) most effective. Before that, I was taking 3x the maximum daily dose of Allegra; I’ve read their toxicology studies and thought I’d be fine doing that, being a person with good kidney function, but your doctor would probably not approve.

I’m on Fluticasone and Xyzal, which have been working phenominally for me. I have year around allergies and before those I was miserable.

I also carry around a Benydril with me because I randomly break out into hives. It’s rather horrid. Unfortunately, my allergist doesn’t know why I do that, so I just have to live with it.

I had an allergy test a couple of weeks ago. Apparently I’m allergic to Cedar, Cockroaches (:confused:), and dust mites. I think it’s the latter that gives me most of my problems.

My cousin was clearly battling post-nasal drip all day on Friday. She used 1/2 a box of Kleenex. The next day, after taking Clarinex, she didn’t use one tissue until around 8pm.

So it did work.

If you’re saying it’s a scam because it has the same active ingredients as an OTC product, then all I can say is that my SIL and cousin both claimed that they’d tried all the OTC allergy pills, and nothing worked.

There’s actually some science as to why products like desloratadine, esomeprazole, escitalopram and others may work better than their parent or cousin molecule.

I can’t speak for desloratadine (clarinex) itself, but having a pill made up of a more active ingredient may more fully activate or block more tissue receptors for that compound. So when taking esomeprazole (pure S omeprazole) instead of omeprazole (a mix of D and S isomers), all receptors get filled with esomeprazole, and get blocked more fully, than they do when a lot of the receptors get filled by a bunch of D isomers which don’t block them as well.

There was also a fairly good-sized study a few years back, noting that many patients who didn’t get relief from loratadine got better effects from desloratadine.

I’m happy if Clarinex works better for people than Claritin does; I hate allergies, and would prefer that nobody had them! I was paraphrasing the words of a drug company toxicologist for whom I interned a few years back, and will admit that I haven’t done my own research.

I’ve talked to my Dr. about this a couple of times. She wanted me to try some new “allergy drops”. However, I’ve got a friend doing this and it sounds like a giant PITA. She says they alternate “building” and “maintenance” doses, and now she is suffering year round.

Mine are really only 6 weeks or so every fall. I’m pretty positive it is ragweed. I’m okay during the day at work, its just the nights and weekends that suck so bad. I’m sure I have neighbors with weedy backyards.

I am trying Loratadine now. Took the first one yesterday along with a 12-hour pseudoephedrine. Took 2 benedryl to sleep last night. Had some weird weeziness overnight, but somewhat better this morning. Took another Loratadine & pseudoephedrine this morning. I was surprisingly drowsy, and eyes still itch a little bit, but I feel much more human. I think I can probably skip the benedryl tonight.

I don’t mind being a little sniffly, so this might work for the rest of the season. I just hate the trial & error thing and the fact that it seems like Claritin NEVER worked for me before, but this time it is? Fingers crossed!

+1. But be sure buy honey that is from your area. Also take some probiotics. Feed the gut flora. They are a big part of your immune system.

I had a prescription for “lohist” - that stuff worked wonders for me - now I’m told its no longer available - any body know if its gone OTC and what its current name is?

Claritin is shit. It doesn’t work for shit. I even tried taking it more frequently, twice a day rather than once. Nothing. Fucking stupid medication. I am a freaking horrible mess. I can’t sleep, I am being a horrible parent, a horrible wife, a horrible employee because I am fucking miserable and tired and stabby. AAAAAAAAA!!! My lungs fucking itch. Inside. My nose is either clogged, or dripping down my face. I can’t breathe through my nose so my lips are chapped. I HATE not being able to breathe through my nose. The corners of my eyes are raw and the lids are swollen.

Calling allergist today. Well, calling United Healthcare about whether I need a referral from PCP to see allergist.

FYI, Xyzal is the same sort of thing as Clarinex: it’s levocetirizine (where Zyrtec is just cetirizine). Basically a subset of the original version that includes both left-handed and right-handed molecules. Clarinex is desloratadine. Claritin is just loratadine.

Pharmaceutical companies have learned that they can manufacture just the one-handed version, and it may work better or have fewer side effects, or it may not (it certainly works better for their bottom line!!).

Anyway - as others have said, the OP should go see a doctor. Testing can identify culprits (and may yield some surprising results). Stronger / different meds such as nasal steroids, leukotriene inhibitors as QtM mentioned, even a short course of oral steroids might be called for. The oral 'roids - them’s good stuff (they work dramatically… pity about long-term use having some nasty side effects). Neti is great - my husband uses his religiously.

Sudafed will help with the symptoms (the congestion) but do a damn thing to help with the actual allergic reaction.