Blog/Common OTC Allergy Medications and What They Treat
6/26/2023 | 3 min read

Common OTC Allergy Medications and What They Treat

Seasonal allergy medications to bring you relief

Sneezing young girl with tissue among blooming trees in park

It’s allergy season. The sneezing, the itching, the watery eyes – it really is the worst. The symptoms can make it difficult to enjoy the outdoors. Whether you experience allergies seasonally or year-round, you might benefit from a reliable over-the-counter (OTC) medicine to get your symptoms under control. 

All allergy medications are not the same, and some prevent allergies while others provide temporary relief. We break down the most common OTC allergy medications and their specific treatment to help you find the allergy relief you need. 


The most popular type of OTC allergy medications are antihistamines. These medications function by blocking the effects of histamine, an inflammatory chemical released by your body during an allergic reaction. Histamine is what’s responsible for the itchy eyes and runny nose. By halting histamine’s actions, antihistamines bring relief from symptoms like sneezing, itching and nasal congestion. Antihistamines can be supplied as an oral pill, capsules, chewable tablets, liquid, nasal spray or medicated eye drops.

Allergy pills and liquid medications

Oral antihistamines are great for easing a runny nose, itchy or watery eyes or any other pesky symptoms. If that’s the kind of relief you’re looking for, these medications could do the trick.

Diphenhydramine (generic for Benadryl): The timeless classic. Diphenhydramine is known for its sedating effects. It definitely gets the job done at relieving acute allergy symptoms, but can include drowsiness. Taking it before you go to bed can help you combat some of that tiredness you might experience.

Cetirizine (generic for Zyrtec): Zyrtec or generic cetirizine is a great non-drowsy antihistamine that offers 24-hour relief. It effectively gets rid of those bothersome allergy symptoms and is best for those uncomfortably itchy eyes.

Loratadine (generic for Alavert and Claritin): Claritin or generic loratadine is a popular go-to when you are looking for long-lasting relief without making you feel like you need a nap. It treats common allergy symptoms like runny nose, sneezing and itchy eyes, nose or throat. 

Nasal sprays

Can’t stop sneezing? Nasal sprays might be the perfect solution to relieve sneezing, sinus inflammation and an itchy or runny nose. 

NasalCrom: This spray takes on nasal allergies by stabilizing mast cells. NasalCrom forms a protective shield over your nasal passages, preventing mass cells from releasing the inflammatory substances that lead to allergy symptoms. 

Eye drops for allergies

Give your eyes some much-needed relief with antihistamine eye drops. They work to alleviate eye discomfort for your itchy, red or swollen eyes. 

Ketotifen (generic for Alaway): These drops contain the power of ketotifen, an antihistamine working tirelessly to alleviate your eye allergies and restore comfort to your weary eyes. 

Pheniramine and naphazoline (generic Visine): This duo combats redness and irritation and gives your eyes the TLC they need.


When allergies accompany a stuffy nose and sinus pressure, decongestants are your best friend. These medications go to work by narrowing the blood vessels in your nasal passages, reducing swelling and congestion. Decongestants are often tag-teamed with antihistamines to deliver a one-two punch of comprehensive allergy relief. 

Decongestant pills and liquid medication

Cetirizine and pseudoephedrine (generic for Zyrtec-D 12 Hour): The dynamic duo of allergy relief. When allergies hit hard, these two join forces to bring you ultimate relief. Cetirizine, an antihistamine, tackles sneezing, itching and running nose with precision. Pseudoephedrine takes down nasal congestion and sinus pressure, allowing you to breathe freely. 

Nasal sprays and drops

Fluticasone (generic for Flonase): Fluticasone is a popular nasal spray that contains a corticosteroid, which helps reduce inflammation in the nasal passages. It provides long-term relief of symptoms like congestion, sneezing and a runny nose. 

Ozymetazone (generic for Afrin): Ozymetazone works wonders by rapidly shrinking swollen blood vessels in your nasal passages and relieving congestion.

OTC antihistamine medications have made allergy season a little more tolerable for those affected, but be sure to read all directions for proper use of these medications and contact your doctor immediately if you start experiencing any worsening symptoms.

How can Agile Telehealth give you rapid allergy relief? 

Are you eager to wave goodbye to the frustrations brought on by seasonal allergies? Our team of licensed providers is dedicated to addressing your unique allergy concerns to get you back to feeling your best, fast. 

Experience the ease of Agile Telehealth’s allergy treatment with no video appointment needed. Simply fill out a brief patient intake form with your symptoms and medical history, an expert provider will review it promptly, then you will receive a customized care plan that may include prescription medication or over-the-counter treatment. Soon enough, you’ll be on your way to enjoying more symptom-free days. 

Request an allergy consultation today!