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Runny Nose? Let's Stop it!! - Over the Counter options

Runny nose? Let’s stop it!! - Over the Counter options.


If you’re in a situation where you have the sniffles or if you’re constantly clearing your throat (post nasal drip), an antihistamine would be the recommendation. Antihistamines basically come 2 ways, drowsy or non-drowsy. Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and Chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton) are taken every 4 to 6 hours and can cause drowsiness. In fact, Diphenhydramine, causes enough drowsiness that it is marketed as a sleep aid in many over-the-counter sleep products. These products normally are not recommended to take for patients needing something throughout the day due to the drowsiness they may cause.


For patients looking to take something non-drowsy, as well as less often during the day, there are a few more options out there. Loratadine (Claritin), Cetirizine (Zyrtec), Fexofenadine (Allegra), and Levocetirizine (Xyzal), are all non-drowsy antihistamines that are taken just once a day.


All antihistamines are well tolerated with very few side effects. If they work too well for you, you may find yourself very dry and/or very thirsty. You also should consult your physician or local pharmacist if you suffer from asthma, diabetes, glaucoma, or an enlarged prostate as an antihistamine may worsen these conditions.

Lastly, keep in mind, a runny nose is the opposite of a stuffy nose. Taking an antihistamine with a stuffy nose can worsen those symptoms. Drying up the sinuses when congested could lead to a sinus blockage and make that nasty sinus headache that much worse!!!



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