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Allergy Medications (cont.)

Medical Editor:

What if medications aren't enough to improve symptoms?

Allergy shots, also known as immunotherapy, can help relieve allergy symptoms if medications are ineffective or intolerable. Immunotherapy works by reducing your sensitivity to allergens, the substances that are causing your allergies.

What are some warnings/precautions with allergy medications?

Anyone taking antihistamines should avoid driving or operating machinery. Do not mix antihistamines with alcohol. People who are pregnant, nursing, or with medical conditions such as high blood pressure, glaucoma, heart disease, lung problems, hyperthyroidism, or difficulty urinating should also talk to their doctor before using antihistamines.

Talk to your doctor before using corticosteroids if you are pregnant or nursing; have a history of heart problems, gastrointestinal problems, high blood pressure, thyroid problems, osteoporosis, eye problems, or liver or kidney disease; or have an active infection. Children can have growth problems with prolonged corticosteroid use. Avoid use of topical corticosteroids near the eyes.

Inform your doctor of any history of liver disease before taking leukotriene inhibitors or if you are pregnant or nursing.

Certain medical conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, glaucoma, and difficulty urinating may prohibit you from using decongestant medications. The elderly and children may be especially susceptible to side effects.

Avoid sunlight and UV light when using the topical immunomodulators Elidel and Protopic. They should not be used on areas of infection or suspected malignancy. Long-term safety is unknown, and there have been reports of rare cases of cancer with use. People with kidney disease or at risk for kidney disease should be cautioned.

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