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    Includes Expert Content
    Allergy shots -- stopping oral antihistamines
    Aqua14 posted:
    Hi all,

    I know there are a couple of regulars here who have been receiving allergy shots for a while and are at maintenance dose. My question is directed to you folks, as well as those who have completed 3-5 years of allergy shots in the past and whose symptoms have not returned, or are much less severe than they used to be.

    The question is, as your shots took effect, how did you arrive at the right level of allergy medications to take (if any)? Does it depend on the season or other expected allergen exposure, such as being around cats?

    Next month I'll be starting year 5 of my shots, and recently I've been experimenting with decreasing Zyrtec to try and figure out whether I really need an oral antihistamine on a daily basis. (I still do take Singulair, Nasonex and Patanase daily.) At one point I stopped taking Zyrtec completely and seemed to be just fine, but then last week high winds here blew a ton of mold spores all over the place, and I started taking a child's dose (5 mg) of Zyrtec again, which helped.

    I have to admit that I haven't asked my allergist about this since I haven't seen him (and haven't needed to see him) since August and really didn't want to bother him with such a noncritical question.

    I've also thought that maybe I could switch to a less effective antihistamine such as Claritin, maybe a chewable which I could take on an "as-needed" basis, since a chewable seems to take effect quicker (at least for me). I might experiment with that, but on the other hand I still have quite a supply of Zyrtec to use up first.

    Just looking for everyone's thoughts on this issue. Thanks. Judy
    It's never too late to be what you might have been. ~ George Eliot.  A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
    coughy16 responded:
    Hi Judy! My shots have been a huge help in controlling my asthma. My allergy symptoms weren't what drove me to try the shots, although I had symptoms, I was used to them and felt I could deal with them. I have not been able to reduce my allergy meds at all, rather I have found that between the shots & the meds, my allergies are now controlled,(most of the time!) as opposed to before when I was on max meds & still not controlled. I was hoping to get off some meds and didn't, but the key is that I feel SO MUCH BETTER that I don't mind that much.
    sgbl88 replied to coughy16's response:
    I am happy for you feeling like you can reduce meds. That is a huge step.

    I think your ideas are good. I carry benadryl liquid caps to supplement my Zyrtec as needed when something really bad is blowing around, like in the spring when I was so itchy. The benadryl was the only thing that stopped the itch. You could try the Zyrtec liquid caps.

    Take care and good luck reducing meds.

    Aqua14 replied to sgbl88's response:
    Thanks Sue & Sonya. I guess it'll just have to be trial and error. I was hoping that I could eliminate many of my allergy meds, but perhaps not, or perhaps only during winter. I'll see how it goes! Judy
    It's never too late to be what you might have been. ~ George Eliot. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
    coughy16 replied to Aqua14's response:
    Good luck, and keep us posted! I would love to hear that you were able to reduce your meds!!!!!!!!!!!
    Gregory M Metz, MD responded:
    Hi Aqua14. Everyone's response to the allergy vaccine is somewhat different as I have seen many patients be able to stop medications while others still need their medications but have much better control of their symptoms. I usually tell patients if their symptoms are doing well to stop or reduce their allergy medications one at a time and if symptoms return to add it back. That way, the least amount of medications to control symptoms are taken. Many patients can at least reduce allergy medication use following vaccine.
    Aqua14 replied to Gregory M Metz, MD's response:
    Thanks, Dr. Metz. I am going to continue to tinker with my allergy meds as you suggested. At least I know that I do well on only 5 mg Zyrtec, so that's a start. Thanks again. Judy
    It's never too late to be what you might have been. ~ George Eliot. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
    coleblanton replied to Aqua14's response:
    Since I can't do the new miracle allergy drugs I have had to stay with the old ones...over the counter but now I have been doing this for nearly 17 years...tree pollens, dust mites and grasses are my worst my maintenance mixes...two shots every four weeks.

    Saline solution instead of a pill for stuffiness.
    Itchy all over a quick shower and change of clothes not to go back outside...I know that is hard to do...wear a mask outside, there are great pollen masks...
    pollen increasing I use lemongrass teas,
    many naturapathic for me...
    Marriet responded:
    I had allergy shots for 10 years. I guess I got carried away. I don't take claritin, loratadine or zyrtec any more. I do take accolate 2 X a day for asthma which doesn't get cleared up by shots. I took zyrtec for a while and gained 12 pounds and I would never take it again. If I get a stuffed up nose I use a netti pot with warm purified water and sea salt and since I have been using one, I don't get sinus infections any more. There was a time I got sick once a month for almost 2 years! I also take probiotics (acidolphilus) or eat yogurt and calcuim magnesium and vitamin d. I don't eat white sugar or refined baked goods with sugar. I am a vegan, but I don't think that has a lot to do with sinus health All these things add up to health. I hope something I mentioned might be of some help.

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