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Health

Prescription Allergy Meds Now Available Over-the-Counter

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Dandelion (Credit: Jim Lukach; Flickr)

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/prescription-allergy-meds-now-available-over-counter_78827.mp3

When you visit your local pharmacy next you might notice that allergy medication you once needed a prescription for is now available over-the-counter.  Certain nasal steroids can now be purchased without a prescription.

Dr. Minh-Thu Le, an allergist with CoxHealth, has already had a couple of patients ask if they can be switched to the over-the-counter version of their prescription medicine since it’s sometimes less expensive.

The reaction among physicians is mixed, she says, but she feels it’s a good idea.  However, patients need to be aware of certain things.

"They are steroids and so, although these medications are very safe to use on a daily basis, one does need to think about other steroids they may be might be putting into their body in addition to this one because they do have a compounding effect eventually, so if you do take other steroids I would talk to your doctor about adding this over the counter medication," she said.

She says even when medications become available over the counter, they still carry certain risks, and your physician needs to know about all the medicine you’re taking.

According to Dr. Le, these over-the-counter nasal sprays are not habit forming and can be used in children two years and older.

"If the over the counter antihistemine isn't working it can be added or it can be used even by itself, and it can give some good relief," she said.

Dr. Le says allergies are on the rise worldwide, and we’ll likely be seeing more products to relieve them available over the counter.

And she expects, in the not too distant future, that prescription medicine will be available to relieve symptoms not just temporarily but semi-permanently.