Over 50 million Americans suffer from allergies and allergic sinusitis with pollen season getting longer and pollen counts higher each year, many people are experiencing worsening symptoms.
In some instances, you may find that your allergy medication no longer provides the same relief as before. Is it possible for over-the-counter allergy drug remedies to quit working?
According to Dr. Alan Goldsobel, at the Allergy and Asthma Associates of Northern California, “There may be a form of pharmacologic tolerance that develops in particular to antihistamines. Many patients state that one antihistamine works well for their symptoms for many months or years, then they feel that it loses effectiveness. Once they switch antihistamines, they feel better, and later, when they revert to the original, its effectiveness returns. It’s not entirely clear as to why some people have experienced this, and others don’t.”
There may be situational or other reasons why allergy medications can stop working:
- You’ve become exposed to new allergens. With climate change and extreme weather patterns, pollen can be more readily dispersed by winds, up to 400 miles. And with many varieties of tree, grass, and weed pollens, you may be allergic to more than one of them at a given time, according to WebMD.
- Late or adult-onset allergies. It’s not uncommon to acquire new allergies as we get older. Therefore, your current medications may not be working as effectively (or at all).
- You’ve recently moved to a new environment. Based on the 2022 Allergy Capitals Report by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), an urban neighborhood, in particular, brings higher levels of carbon dioxide pollution, which increases pollen production. This can worsen your allergies, making your usual round of medication ineffective.
- You’re spending more time outdoors. As businesses, outdoor events, and activities reopen and you’re outside more, you may experience more frequent allergy flare-ups, making it more challenging for your allergy meds to keep up.
- Stress can increase your sensitivity to allergens. Virtually all the body’s systems – digestive, immune, cardiovascular, and nervous system – adjust to stress. While stress doesn’t cause allergies, it can make an allergic reaction worse by increasing histamine levels in your bloodstream.
- You’re taking other medication. Like any drug, allergy meds can interact with other drugs you’re taking – for example, some meds can worsen sinus conditions, thereby making allergy medication ineffective.
Whatever the case may be, managing your allergy symptoms effectively may require a combination of natural and over-the-counter remedies, and lifestyle changes.
If you’re seeking a non-pharmacologic remedy for your allergies, consider non-invasive treatments like ClearUP® Sinus Pain Relief – a 100% drug-free therapy device that is FDA-approved and has no chemical side effects. It is the first of its kind and only FDA-approved bioelectronic device that targets allergic sinusitis, sinus pain and congestion.
If your symptoms persist, consider seeing a board-certified allergist to get a proper diagnosis.
 Dr. Alan Goldsobel is a member of the Tivic Health Medical Advisory Board.