ZocdocAnswersIs it possible to build a tolerance to my allergy medicine?

Question

Is it possible to build a tolerance to my allergy medicine?

I am a 40 year old woman. I take claritin and sudafed and they uesed to really help with my allergies. I started taking them about 6 months ago and had never taken allergy medicine before that time. In the last month, however, they don't seem to be helping relieve my sinus congestion and earaches. I haven't changed the amount I am taking since I started and haven't changed my diet or taken any other medication.

Answer

Although occasionally people will find that their over the counter allergy medicine is not working as well as in the past, it is much more likely that your allergy symptoms are simply undertreated by your current medication regimen (or even that the allergens you are exposed to have increased, such as more mold or mites in the home, making the symptoms worse). In fact if the symptoms you have are mostly nasal allergies and sinus congestion, then the medication regimen you are using is not really adequate for dealing with those. Therefore I suggest getting in to see your primary care doctor as soon as possible for help finding a better treatment plan. The mainstay of treating nasal allergies and sinus congestion is nasal steroid sprays, which are available only by prescription. Claritin and similar antihistamines may also be used, but they are usually adjunct therapy and not the main therapy. Additionally, you may find that irrigation of the nasal passage with saline solution (using a Nettipot or similar system) is a great additional therapy that will help you achieve better control. If you can identify the allergen (say dust mites in the bedding) and address this that will also help. Start by seeing your primary care doctor.

This answer 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 or (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.