Symptomatic treatment of allergy

In the symptomatic treatment of an allergy, the symptoms of the affected person are relieved by medication. This use of medication only combats the signs of the disease (symptoms), but does not eliminate the cause of the disease.

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There are different groups of active ingredients for the symptomatic treatment of allergic diseases. Above all, the type of allergy and the severity of the symptoms are decisive for the right choice of medication. Please always talk to your doctor before starting therapy.

The following medications can be used for allergy treatment:

  • Antihistamines
  • Decongestants for the nasal mucosa
  • Cortisone (glucocorticoids)
  • Leukotriene receptor antagonists
  • Bronchodilators
  • Antibody therapy
  • Emergency medication (EpiPen)


Antihistamines are used as the first choice for the treatment of mild or moderately severe symptoms, e.g., allergic hay fever, hives (urticaria), or itching in atopic eczema.

Histamine plays an essential role in the development of allergic reactions as a messenger substance that is secreted by mast cells. Antihistamines can block receptors and thus inhibit the - in this case undesirable - effect of histamine. The result is an improvement in allergic symptoms.

Antihistamines can be applied locally (e.g. nasal spray or eye drops) or internally in the form of tablets, drops, juices or by injection.

Decongestants for the nasal mucosa.

Appropriate nasal sprays or drops are used (in addition to antihistamines) for allergic hay fever. Although they act quickly, they are only effective for a short time and should not be used for longer than ten days, otherwise the effect wears off and the mucous membranes can be damaged.

Cortisone (glucocorticoids)

Cortisone is also used for a variety of allergic diseases. It has an anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive effect, which means that it suppresses the immune response.

Cortisone comes in various forms of administration:

1. locally administered cortisone.

  • Cortisone creams and ointments are used, for example, in cases of neurodermatitis and cotactic eczema to relieve itching and positive skin changes.

  • Cortisone nasal sprays are used to treat hay fever to relieve swelling and irritation of the nasal mucosa.

  • Glucocorticoid eye drops used to treat allergic conjunctivitis.

2. glucocorticoids for systemic use.

Cortisone can also be taken systemically in the form of tablets or injections. This form of administration is used primarily in cases of severe allergic symptoms, e.g., severe respiratory distress, acute worsening of existing symptoms, or in emergencies.

Systemically administered glucocorticoids are only used for a short time.

Leukotriene receptor antagonists

Leukotriene receptor antagonists can be taken as tablets and are used for mild to moderate allergic asthma. These drugs inhibit so-called leukotrienes, which, like histamine, are released by mast cells and other cells of the immune system and play a role in the development of allergic asthma.

This form of treatment is frequently used, especially in children and adolescents.

Bronchodilator drugs

Bronchodilators can be used to treat asthma. These cause the smooth muscles in the walls of the bronchial tubes to relax - resulting in a widening of the bronchial tubes. Along with glucocorticoids, they are an important component of asthma therapy. Two important representatives of the bronchodilators are anticholinergics and beta-2 sympathomimetics.

Under no circumstances should medications be used at your own discretion or based solely on internet research. Please always talk to your doctor in advance and on a regular basis.

Antibody therapies

Artificially produced anti-IgE antibodies are also used to treat allergic diseases. These block the antibody IgE, which is an important mediator of allergic reactions, and minimize allergic inflammation. One well-known anti-IgE antibody is omalizumab, which has been used successfully for years in the treatment of asthma, neurodermatitis and hives (urticaria).

Emergency medication (EpiPen)

The most important medication for treating anaphylactic shock is adrenaline, also known as epinephrine.

With the aid of an auto-injector (EpiPen), it is also possible for the affected person to administer the medication intramuscularly themselves. The adrenaline develops its life-saving effect quickly after its application: the blood vessels contract, increasing the blood pressure and stabilizing the circulation.

The EpiPen is an integral part of the daily emergency kit for people with known anaphylaxis.


This article has been reviewed by unserem Medical-Team for accuracy of content.


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