If you suffer from allergies, then you probably have experienced bouts of sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, watery eyes, and postnasal drip. While many people experience symptoms only seasonally, others experience symptoms all year round. Your drugstore pharmacist is an excellent resource for all of your questions and concerns you may have regarding both your over-the-counter and prescription allergy medications. Here are some things to discuss with your drugstore pharmacist about your allergy medications.

Drug Side Effects

Allergy medications can cause side effects, which can range from mild to severe. Your drugstore pharmacy professional can tell you which side effects are associated with the type of allergy medication you are interested in taking. For example, the pharmacist may tell you that over-the-counter antihistamines, drugs used in the management of a runny nose, watery eyes, and sneezing, may cause significant drowsiness, blurred vision, dizziness, dry mouth, and urinary retention.

Conversely, your pharmacy professional may tell you that decongestants, drugs that treat nasal congestion, or stuffy nose, can cause heart palpitations, anxiety, and insomnia. While a lower dosage may help reduce your risk for side effects, the pharmacist may explain that even with lower dosages, side effects can still occur. 

Interactions With Other Medications

It is important to talk to your pharmacist about interactions with other medications because certain allergy medications may be contraindicated with other drugs. For example, antihistamines may intensify the effects of certain medications such as beta-blockers, an antihypertension drug, antianxiety medications, and prescription pain medications.

Decongestants may interact with inhaled asthma medications. Inhaled asthma medications help to thin out viscous lung secretions and open the airways to facilitate better breathing. If you take your decongestant medication with an inhaled asthma medication, they may interact, causing a too-fast heart rate, cardiac arrhythmia, shaking, and severe anxiety.

If you take inhaled asthma medications, your pharmacist may advise you to talk to your primary care physician before you start to take your decongestant medication. In addition to talking to you about drug interactions, your pharmacy professional will also provide you with printed materials about your medications that will include information such as potential side effects, interactions, appropriate dosages, and other pertinent medical information about the medications. 

If you take allergy medications, talk to your drugstore pharmacist to learn more about them. When you are well-informed about the medications you take, you may be more prepared to handle drug side effects or adverse reactions.