If you have seasonal allergies, then you are well aware of the symptoms – itching, watery eyes, and sneezing. You’re probably also aware that most allergy medications will make you drowsy. Thankfully, in recent years several types of non drowsy allergy medication have been developed. This past spring was the first allergy season that saw prescription-strength, 24-hour, non-drowsy allergy medication available without a prescription.
There are two types of over-the-counter medications for allergy relief that are available in non-drowsy formulas: antihistamines and decongestants. Antihistamines block histamine, the substance causing your reactions. Antihistamines developed years ago come with a major side effect: drowsiness. This is because histamine is a neurotransmitter; by blocking histamines, these medications make it difficult to concentrate and cause drowsiness. Options for those trying to avoid the side-effect of drowsiness include Alavert, Allegra, Clarinex, Zyrtec, and Claritin. Those that may cause drowsiness include Benadryl and Actifed.
Decongestants, meanwhile, reduce blood flow to your nose, eyes, and ears, clearing congestion and improving breathing. Options include Sudafed, Robitussin, Dimetapp, Dristan, and Afrin. Some, such as Dimetapp, may cause drowsiness, while others, like Sudafed, are considered non-drowsy.
How your body reacts to the medication can differ, so some ‘non-drowsy’ formulas may make you feel tired, while others may not cause drowsiness even though it is a listed side effect. Medications listed as ‘non-drowsy’ should be considered ‘less likely to cause drowsiness,’ although it is still a possibility. If you have allergy symptoms, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the best medications to treat your