What if the Over the Counter Medications Aren’t Enough to Treat My Symptoms?

In the past couple weeks, we have discussed seasonal allergies and Over the Counter medications that you can take to treat them. But, what if these aren’t enough to treat your symptoms?

Well, there is a bit of good news for you, because there are still more options. There are inhalers, nasal sprays and prescription medications that you can ask your doctor about, depending on your symptoms.

If you are experiencing a lot of nasal congestion and runny nose, you can ask your Four Corners pharmacist about pseudoephedrine, a decongestant. It comes alone and in combination with the second generation antihistamines that we talked about last week. It is dosed 60 mg every 4 to 6 hours or 120 mg twice per day for the extended release 12-hour formulation. The maximum amount you can take in one day is 240 mg. If you have high blood pressure or other cardiac conditions, you’ll want to talk to your doctor before taking this.

Another OTC medication that you can buy for your nasal congestion is Flonase, or generically fluticasone. Fluticasone is an intranasal steroid. This is a nasal spray that you can use 2 sprays daily in each nostril to alleviate your congestion. Before using this, you’ll want to blow your nose to clear out your sinuses. Also, make sure you wipe the tip of the nasal spray after each use. It may take up to a week of using this to see maximal benefits.

A more short-term nasal spray is Afrin, or oxymetazoline. This will work in a different way than Flonase to relieve your nasal congestion. However, you cannot use this for more than 3 days in a row. Doing so will lead to something caused rebound congestion, which means the spray will cause congestion, instead of helping it. These are just two of the nasal options that are available.  For more information, feel free to stop in and ask your Pharmacist for help!

If you are having trouble breathing, there are a couple options that you will have to get a prescription from your doctor for. The first is Singulair, or montelukast. This is usually dosed 10 mg in the evening. It works to open your airways, by making the muscles relax. The most common adverse effect of this medication is headache. This is a medication that you should take daily during the allergy season.

Other medications you can use are Ventolin or Proair, which are both albuterol inhalers. These are rescue inhalers that you should only use when it is hard to breathe, or you can’t stop coughing. This medication works in a different way to relax the airway muscles.  Both are prescription only medications that you will need to talk to your doctor before getting a prescription. They are also commonly used for treating Asthma.

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to call or stop in and ask your neighborhood Pharmacist at Four Corners Pharmacy!


Seidman MD, Gurgel RK and Lin SY. Clinical Practice Guideline: Allergic Rhinitis. Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery. 2015; 152(1S): S1-S43.

Micromedex. In: In Depth Answers [database on the Internet]. Greenwood Village (CO): Truven Health Analytics; 2018 [cited 2018 Jun 7]. Available from: http://www.micromedexsolutions.com. Subscription required to view.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s