Printer-friendly version

Treatment options of Allergic Rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis is not curable at the moment but most medications for allergic rhinitis can manage and stabilize the condition as medical science develops.

There are three types of medicines: long-term medication, nasal spray and eye drops.

(1) Long-term medication

These are inhaled nasal steroids and second- and third-generation antihistamines.

Inhaled nasal steroids are excellent for their anti-inflammatory effects and control symptoms effectively: reducing swelling, itchiness, and nasal dripping, avoiding sleep apnoea and relieving nasal congestion. Inhaled nasal steroids are safer than oral steroids as the dosage is very low and can be used on a long-term basis. If used properly, these medicines produce almost no side effects. But it takes a few days or even longer for the drugs to work.

The effects of antihistamines last longer (12-24 hours); the drugs can suppress the effect of histamine on the nose, thus reducing nasal dripping, itchiness and sneezing. Older antihistamines will lead to drowsiness and dry mouth. But the newer antihistamines have fewer side effects; doctors are willing to prescribe them. However, they cannot be used together with erythromycin as this will resulted with irregular heartbeat.

(2) Nasal spray

This is for severe nasal blockage as it contracts the blood vessels on the nasal membranes, reducing swelling and hyperemia in capillaries, and thus relieving nasal congestion. It reacts in a few minutes but if used for weeks, the condition will rebound, i.e. the nasal membranes will swell up soon after the drug is stopped. It is best to use the spray only for a few days and then stop.

(3) Eye drops

It helps improve the symptoms caused by nasal allergy including itchy eyes and allergic reactions in the cornea.