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What OTC allergy medicines are safe for me if I have high blood pressure?

Dr. Alan Young, MD
Family Practitioner

There are over-the-counter (OTC) allergy medicines that are safe for you if you have high blood pressure. The first thing that is recommended may be an antihistamine, like loratadine, cetirizine or fexofenadine.

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There are non-prescription drugs that can be used safely if you have high blood pressure. A common problem with these drugs is that they may contain more than one medication. It is important to look at the ingredients to see what is included in each product.

Many people find relief of allergy symptoms by taking antihistamines. These include:

  • diphenhydramine
  • chlorpheniramine
  • hydroxyzine

They can cause drowsiness, so be careful if driving or at work. Newer antihistamines like loratadine and certirizine cause less drowsiness.

Decongestants are also available without a prescription. The most common decongestants are:

  • pseudoephedrine
  • phenylephrine

You should avoid these if you have high blood pressure, especially if your blood pressure has been difficult to control. If you have high blood pressure, check the ingredients of all over-the-counter allergy products to be sure they do not contain pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.