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Allergy Medicines and Hypertension

Written and medically reviewed by Dorcas Morak, Pharm.D

If you have high blood pressure and suffer uncomfortable symptoms of allergies, your only concern is not just to get effective medications to arrest the symptoms but also to get safe medications that won't exacerbate your condition. There are varieties of medications to manage the symptoms of allergy but not all of them are safe for people with high blood pressure.

As you continue reading this article, you will feel more and more confident in your ability to select the proper medication for your allergy without harming your blood pressure.

What Are Different Classes of Allergy Medicines?

Allergy medications abound and they are indicated to relieve allergy symptoms (runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, itching, and watery eyes). Your understanding of each class of allergy drugs will guide you to choose the right and safe medications when you next visit a pharmacy.

The classes are:

  • Antihistamines: Antihistamines are effective to relieve the symptoms of allergy. All antihistamines ease the symptoms by acting on the histamine receptor, although they differ in their capacity to sedate. The first generation includes those that are sedative. While the second generations are non-sedative and are commonly prescribed for daytime. Examples are:

  • First generation:

  • Second generation:

Antihistamines are mostly administered orally but there is a nasal spray formulation that works quickly following their local application in the nose. Examples are:

The allergic condition doesn't only affect the nose; it can cause itchy and watery eyes. Therefore, there are antihistamine eye drops to relieve the symptoms. Examples are:

  • Ketotifen (Alaway, Zaditor, Zyrtec Itchy Eye)

  • Olopatadine (Patanol, Pazeo)

  • Nasal decongestants: Nasal decongestants are vasoconstrictor that reduces the blood supply to the blood vessels in the nasal membrane and reduce its swelling. It clears the stuffy nose and allows free breathing. They are available for oral administration as tablets, liquid, and nasal sprays. Examples are:

  • Steroid: Steroids are useful in the treatment of allergies. It effectively reduces allergy-related nasal congestion and allows free breathing. It is available as a tablet and a nasal spray, and. Examples include:

  • Saline nasal sprays: Saline nasal sprays work locally to loosen the thick mucus that congests the nose and soothe the inflamed nasal passage. Examples are:

Which Allergy Medications Affect My Blood Pressure?

The following are not safe:

  • Nasal decongestant: If you have high blood pressure, avoid taking a nasal decongestant. Since these drugs aren't specific to the blood vessel in the nasal membrane, they constrict blood vessels in other parts of the body resulting in increased blood pressure. Furthermore, some decongestant works indirectly by increasing the release of norepinephrine - a chemical that causes the heart to beat fast and blood pressure to shoot up. This may worsen the condition of those with high blood pressure.
  • Drug interaction: Avoid allergy medication that may interact with your blood pressure medications. Examples include

This list is not exhaustive. Ask your pharmacist about possible interactions with your blood pressure medication.

Are there Safe Allergy Medications if I Have High Blood Pressure?

Consider drugs in the following categories for your allergy:

  • Steroid nasal sprays
  • Antihistamine that doesn't interact with your current blood pressure medications
  • Antihistamine spray
  • Saline nasal spray
  • Antihistamine eye drops

Note: Some safe allergy drugs for people with high blood pressure may be co-formulated with a decongestant. Remember decongestants could cause harm to your blood pressure. Some of them are:

How much Does Allergy Medications Cost?

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