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Food Allergies - Medications

Medicine is used to treat some food allergies.

For mild allergic reactions, people often try nonprescription medicines first. You can try prescription medicines if over-the-counter medicines fail to control allergy symptoms or if they cause drowsiness or other bothersome side effects.

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Medicine choices

Medicines used to treat a severe allergic reaction include:

  • Epinephrine. Epinephrine is given as a shot. It acts quickly to relax the muscles that help you breathe. Sometimes more than one shot is needed if symptoms do not go away. Epinephrine is the medicine used to treat anaphylaxis.
  • Antihistamines. Antihistamines block the action of histamine during an allergic reaction and help improve symptoms such as itching and sneezing.
  • Corticosteroids. These medicines help reduce inflammation.

Medicines used to relieve mild food allergy symptoms include:

  • Antihistamines and corticosteroids for hives, gastrointestinal symptoms, or sneezing and a runny nose.
  • Bronchodilators for asthma symptoms. Bronchodilators relax the airways of the lungs, making it easier to breathe.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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