Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Should I talk to my doctor before taking over the counter allergy medication?"

ZocdocAnswersShould I talk to my doctor before taking over the counter allergy medication?


I want to start taking an over the counter allergy medication just so I don?t sneeze and have itchy eyes all of the time. Should I talk to my doctor first or can I just start taking over the counter medication without talking to him?


Over the counter allergy medicines, like loratidine (Claritin) and cetirizine (Zyrtec), are very safe and well tolerated medications. Unless you have other significant medical problems or are taking other prescription medications, you should feel free to try them without much worry. The caveat of course is that if you do have other medical problems or are taking other prescription medications then you should check with your doctor first. Additionally, if you find that you do not have relief from the over the counter allergy medications, then you should also set up an appointment to talk with your primary care doctor. First of all, they will be able to confirm that what you are dealing with is indeed allergies. Second, if the over the counter medications are not working for you, they will be able to recommend additional other prescription medications to help you get your allergy symptoms under better control. Finally, they will be able to help you identify the potential sources of your allergies and treat them as necessary. For example, they can recommend modifications to your home to reduce allergens, or they can make a referral to an allergy doctor for allergy testing or for allergy shots as necessary.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.