Allergic Rhinitis Medicines and Children

Topic Overview

Children with allergic rhinitis have the same treatment options as adults. They should avoid substances that trigger their allergies (allergens), and they usually need to use medicine to control symptoms. Your child may also get allergy shots.

Don't give medicines to your child without talking to your child's doctor. You and the doctor will be able to find the right kind of medicine for your child. The medicine you and your doctor choose will depend on your child's symptoms and the possible side effects from taking medicine.

Nasal corticosteroids

  • Nasal corticosteroids are the most effective medicine for treating allergic rhinitis in children. There are different medicines, such as triamcinolone (Nasacort), budesonide (Rhinocort), ciclesonide (Omnaris), or fluticasone (Flonase or Veramyst). All of them work well.
  • Nasal corticosteroids have few side effects.

Antihistamines

Antihistamines come in different forms, such as pills, liquid, dissolvable tablets, eye drops, or nasal sprays.

  • Antihistamines are available in over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and loratadine (Claritin).
  • Some antihistamines are available by prescription. They include desloratadine (Clarinex), cetirizine (Zyrtec), and azelastine (Astelin).
  • Some medicines may make your child sleepy. But your child's doctor may be able to start your child on a medicine that won't make him or her sleepy.

Leukotriene modifiers

  • Leukotriene modifiers, such as montelukast (Singulair), come in tablet, liquid, or granule form.
  • Montelukast may be prescribed for children with allergic rhinitis who also have asthma.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

Credits

Author Bets Davis, MFA
Editor Susan Van Houten, RN, BSN
Associate Editor Pat Truman, MATC
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Harold S. Nelson, MD - Allergy and Immunology
Last Updated July 2, 2009

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