More than 40 million people in America have allergic nasal symptoms. Many have turned to over the counter (OTC) medications to treat their allergy symptoms. Allergy medications have escalated in costs and are becoming less available by prescription. I recently posted comments on how to reduce costs associated with OTC antihistamines. Intranasal steroids are important for managing moderate to severe allergic rhinitis and may be used down to 2 years of age (depending on the brand of nasal spray). They are only available by prescription. What are you getting when you turn to an OTC nasal spray for your allergy symptoms?
Topical Nasal Decongestant (TND)- Very quick acting but may be addictive if used more than 3-5 days at a time. Are you taking a nasal spray that within seconds to minutes opens your nose up (almost instant gratification)? There is much more you should read about by clicking this link: Beware of the Topical Nasal Decongestant Sprays
Nasal Saline: (Ocean Spray, Ayr and others)- Nasal saline is salt water of similar consistency to body fluids. I previously discussed methods on moisturizing vs. irrigating the nasal passages. This has very little risk but is not effective alone, in treating seasonal or perennial allergic rhinitis. When a comprehensive program of environmental controls, avoidance, medication and nasal rinsing is followed, successful management is often achievable.
Nasalcrom (Cromolyn)- Previously only available by prescription, Nasalcrom is now OTC. It must be sprayed in the nose three or more times daily to be effective. Best results are achieved when the sprays are begun well before (about 2 weeks before) the allergy season starts. It is most effective for seasonal allergy. Children tend to have a better response compared to adults. Nasal steroid sprays are more effective overall.
Alternative (Holistic) Nasal Sprays- There is an endless number of such nasal sprays and drops which frankly have very little clinical research to support their use in allergic nasal conditions. Safety data tends to be lacking on many of them. I do not recommend them to my patients. I point out (to my patients) that people that have allergic problems may be more at risk of developing an allergic reaction to various herbs associated with some of the available allergy remedies in health food stores.
Have other comments?
Am I missing something that should be on the above list?
Let me know: AllergyQA@aol.com