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Will allergy and sinus medications make me feel drowsy?

Dr. Alan M. Young, MD
Family Practitioner

Most allergy and sinus medications will not make you feel drowsy. The types of medicine that would make people feel drowsy typically have diphenhydramine in them. Antihistamines like loratadine, cetirizine or fexofenadine do not make people drowsy. Nasal steroid sprays won’t make you drowsy either.

Stacy Wiegman, PharmD
Pharmacy Specialist

Allergy and sinus medications may make you drowsy. A key ingredient in many over-the-counter formulas are antihistamines, which block the body's production of a natural compound that triggers allergy symptoms. The first generation of antihistamines, which are still widely used, often make people feel sleepy, tired or dizzy. A good example of this is diphenhydramine, an active ingredient in some Benadryl and other products. Newer second-generation antihistamines are much less likely to make you drowsy. These include both over-the-counter medications, such as Allegra (fexofenadine), Zyrtec (cetirizine) and Claritin or Alavert (loratadine), as well as prescription medications such as Clarinex (desloratadine). Look at the information that comes with any medication you are taking to see if it warns of drowsiness. If it does, be careful if you drive.

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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.