Leukotriene inhibitors. Leukotriene inhibitors such as azfirlukast (Accolate), montelukast (Singulair), and zileuton (Zyflo) block the action of chemicals in the body called leukotrienes. Leukotrienes cause inflammation, as well as swelling and contraction of the lining of the airways. These medications are primarily used for asthma, but may also be used to treat allergic rhinitis.
Mast cell stabilizers. These medications include cromolyn (Nasalcrom and Intal) and nedocromil (Tilade) and work by reducing inflammation seen in allergies and asthma, which can lead to swelling and congestion in the nose. Mast cell stabilizers “can be effective, but perhaps less so for allergy symptoms,” McNairn says.
Corticosteroids. This type of anti-inflammatory allergy medicine is available in many forms, including topical treatments, nasal sprays, inhalers, oral pills or liquids, and injections. Corticosteroids are commonly used to treat asthma but may be used to treat other allergies in some situations. Long-term use of inhaled or nasal spray forms of corticosteroids is considered safe and effective, as is short-term use of oral steroids. However, long-term use of oral corticosteroids has been associated with many side effects.
Talking About Allergy Medicine With Your Doctor
It is important to discuss your allergy medicine options with your allergist or other health care professional. You may have to try a few different types of allergy medicine before you find the right one for you. Fortunately, you have many options, and your doctor will help you decide which medicine is the best fit for your allergy treatment plan.