People who suffer from seasonal allergies tend to go for over-the-counter allergy medications instead of getting prescription drugs, a new study finds.
The study results – that shall be presented November 9 at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology in San Antonio – showed that about half of the participants who took prescription allergy medications were satisfied with the effectiveness of the drug, compared with only thirty-three percent of the participants who took over-the-counter medication. Even so, more than half (62 percent) of the adults bought over-the-counter drugs.
Dr. Eli Meltzer, a senior associate at the Allergy and Asthma Medical Group and Research Center in San Diego, said that over-the-counter allergy medications may be preferred by most of the people because of the lower cost.
According to Dr. Meltzer, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration started approving more and more over-the-counter allergy products.
In the study, the researchers surveyed 500 adults and 501 children (between the ages of 12 and 17), who suffered from allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever or pollinosis. Allergic rhinitis is a conditions characterized by nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes, etc.
About eighty percent of the participants reported moderate to severe symptoms of the allergies in spring, summer, and autumn. Over-the-counter allergy medications were the most popular among both children and adults.
Most of the adults saw their primary care doctor for allergy care and the children saw their paediatricians for allergy treatments. Only about fourteen percent adults and about twenty-four percent children actually went to an allergy specialist.
People tend not to consult their doctor and rather self-treat seasonal allergies. They sometimes choose a product that was recommended by a friend, or buy one that was advertised on TV, Dr. Meltzer stated.
Patients who have hay fever can control the symptoms, but they have to receive proper treatment. For instance allergy shots (immunotherapy) are able to provide relief in the long-run.
Although over-the-counter medication may work in some cases, if the symptoms persist, patients should see an allergy specialist who can help them manage and monitor the condition.
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