Treatment options for Allergic Rhinitis

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There are many options for treating your allergies. When talking about allergic rhinitis these range from avoidance, over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription symptomatic medicines, to more long-term treatments like allergy immunotherapy. Which option is the right one for you should be decided in close consultation with your doctor. Influencing factors include what is causing your allergy and how severe your symptoms are. The table below might help you when talking to your doctor about treating your allergic rhinitis.

Symptomatic

Symptomatic

Features

  • Reduces allergy symptoms
    Symptomatic medicines have been shown to provide instant relief and put an end to discomfort and feeling ill.

  • No long-term effect
    The treatment only works while taking the medicine.

  • Doesn’t induce tolerance
    Symptomatic treatment reduces symptoms of allergy, but doesn’t change the cause of the disease.

  • Works with immunotherapy
    Symptomatic treatment can be used while getting immunotherapy to relieve symptoms until results show.

  • Non-prescription and prescription treatment
    Most symptomatic treatments are available over-the-counter (OTC), e.g. in the supermarket or pharmacy. This is because they have a very good safety profile. Talk to your doctor/pharmacist about possible side effects.

  • Take as needed
    Your doctor/pharmacist recommends use for best results, but usually there is no specific treatment plan to follow. 

Administration

  • Nasal Spray
    Nasal sprays can be used to reduce swelling and irritation in the nose. Nasal sprays can be used alone or in combination with oral anti-histamines. They are two types of nasal sprays: anti-histamine and steroid sprays. Anti-histamines are recommended for mild cases of allergic rhinitis, while steroids are the first-line treatment for people with moderate and severe allergic rhinitis. In the case of asthma, steroids can be taken directly to the lungs via an inhaler, thereby treating the area that is affected by allergy.

  • Eye drops
    Anti-histamine treatment also comes in the form of eye drops, which may help relieve sore, itchy eye symptoms as a result of allergic rhinoconjunctivitis.

  • Oral anti-histamines
    Anti-histamines temporarily relieve symptoms such as hives, sneezing, runny nose and irritated eyes by blocking the action of the chemical histamine. There are two types of oral anti-histamines: old generation anti-histamines and new generation anti-histamines. New generation anti-histamines are usually recommended when available, since most old generation anti-histamines are more likely to cause side effects such as sedation, drowsiness and dry mouth. While many oral antihistamines are available over-the-counter, some require a prescription from your doctor.

Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy

Features

  • Reduces allergy symptoms
    Immunotherapy has been shown to provide relief and put an end to discomfort and feeling ill.

  • Long-term effect
    Sustained improvement, including in the years following treatment. 

  • Induces tolerance
    Immunotherapy targets the cause of allergy and changes the natural course of disease.

  • Prevents disease progression
    In children immunotherapy may prevent the progression of allergic disease from allergic rhinitis to asthma.

  • Prescribed treatment
    Immunotherapy is only available from a doctor specialised in the treatment of allergies.  Only when overseen by specialists does Immunotherapy have an acceptable safety profile. Talk to your doctor about possible side effects.

  • Length of treatment 3-5 years
    It’s recommended that immunotherapy is continued for at least 3 years to ensure optimal long term effect.

Administration

  • Sublingual tablets
    Sublingual allergy immunotherapy tablet is immunotherapy in the form of a fast-dissolving tablet that is placed under the tongue. Sublingual allergy immunotherapy tablets can be administered at home, and treatment is usually required for at least three years. This treatment is currently only available for grass pollen allergy. (Availability may alter depending on country)

  • Subcutaneous injections
    SCIT (subcutaneous immunotherapy), also known as allergy shots, is a form of immunotherapy that is injected into the skin. The injection may cause swelling at the injection site. The injections are typically administered at a hospital or health clinic. This treatment is available for the most common allergies. (Availablility may alter depending on country)

  • Sublingual drops
    SLIT (sublingual immunotherapy) drops is a form of immunotherapy that involves putting allergen drops under the tongue. SLIT-drops are self-administered daily or a couple of times a week. Treatment is usually required for at least three years. This treatment is available for the most common allergies. (Availablility may alter depending on country)

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