From Springtime on into the summer months, millions of people struggle with allergies related to pollen and other environmental factors. Because they are so widely available, the common perception of over-the-counter allergy medications is that they are safe.
Allergy drugs, both prescription and commercial, can effectively reduce the symptoms of hay fever and other allergies. This is a big plus. On the other hand, allergy medications could interact with certain drugs prescribed for the heart and blood pressure or with an existing heart condition. For example, allergy medications with pseudoephedrine may increase blood pressure or heart rate, which could agitate some cardiac conditions. For this reason, any person who is considering an over-the-counter allergy medicine is encouraged to speak with the on-site pharmacist or their physician for recommendations based on other medications they may be taking or on their general heart health.
Allergy drugs generally fit into one of three classes:
Antihistamines are generally viewed as safe, even for people with heart disease or high blood pressure. However, the FDA does state that antihistamines could elevate heart rate and blood pressure temporarily. Additionally, some antihistamine drugs also contain decongestant ingredients. This is typically notated with a “D” after the medication name. Some experts warn that people with high blood pressure or other cardiac problems should avoid decongestants altogether due to this elevation and its potential to create disturbance in heart rhythm such as atrial fibrillation. The reason why decongestants do this is that they constrict the blood vessels.
Anti-inflammatory allergy medications like intranasal sprays are generally safe for all people provided that usage instructions are followed. Overuse of an intranasal spray could affect the efficacy of blood pressure medications and may also lead to water and salt retention.
It is possible for people taking heart medications or managing a heart or blood pressure situation to make it through allergy season. Prescription allergy medications have been developed for use alongside heart medications. Your primary care doctor or cardiologist can assist you in finding the right allergy medication for your needs. Even after consulting with your doctor, it is beneficial to also speak with the pharmacist who fills all of your prescriptions to confirm that there is no risk of drug interactions.
Premier Cardiology Consultants proudly serves the areas of Lake Success, Forest Hills, and Richmond Hill, NY. To schedule a consultation with us, call 516-437-5600.