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Antihistamine Nasal Spray Offers Pricey Relief

Q. You have written about allergies but I think you may have missed the next great allergy drug. I was having problems last winter and tried Claritin, Allegra and Zyrtec in succession, but all had lost their effectiveness.

The nurse practitioner had noticed that the specialists were prescribing Astelin nasal spray (nasal antihistamine) and it was working like magic. She wrote me a prescription and I had it filled. It works instantly and lasts all day. The only drawback is that it makes me sneeze once or twice when I first spray it. It doesn’t make me sleepy or dopey, which is good since we all have to stay sharp at our jobs.

A. We’re delighted you’ve had such good results. Astelin nasal spray is a topical antihistamine, but not everyone benefits as much as you. It is normally used twice daily and is about as effective as oral antihistamines.

Side effects of Astelin may include a bitter taste in the mouth, drowsiness, headache, nasal burning, sneezing, sore throat, dry mouth and fatigue. A one-ounce bottle can cost as much as $90.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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