Skip to main content

Top 7 Prescription Medications for Severe Allergies

Written by Andrew Le, MD

UpdatedFebruary 22, 2024

Allergy sufferers face a spectrum of reactions, from mild discomfort to life-threatening emergencies. Anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction, impacts between 1.6% and 5.1% of individuals in the US.

Additionally, studies revealed that 1% of hospitalizations and 0.1% of emergency department visits for anaphylaxis result in a fatal outcome, causing anxiety and limiting daily activities for those at risk.

For individuals with severe allergies, prescription medications may be necessary to manage symptoms that are beyond the scope of over-the-counter (OTC) remedies.

In this article, we'll talk about prescription solutions for severe allergies. By understanding these treatments, we aim to provide insights that help individuals in managing their allergies. Follow along as we explore these medical interventions, examining factors such as their efficacy, active ingredients, ease of administration, and more!

Applications of Prescription Allergy Medications

Prescription allergy medications are a specialized class of drugs exclusively prescribed by healthcare professionals to address allergy symptoms.

Unlike over-the-counter alternatives, these medications contain regulated, potent ingredients authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), ensuring higher efficacy and safety standards.

There are several types of prescription allergy medications, each serving a specific purpose in managing allergic symptoms. The main categories include:

  • Antihistamines
  • Corticosteroids
  • Leukotriene Modifiers
  • Decongestants
  • Mast Cell Stabilizers
  • Immunomodulators
  • Epinephrine Autoinjectors

The type and severity of the allergy, along with individual patient factors, will determine the specific medication prescribed.

How to Get a Prescription for Allergy Medications

In the US, obtaining a prescription for severe allergy medications typically involves the following steps:

1. Find a Healthcare Provider

Identify a healthcare provider who can prescribe medications for allergies. There are various online and in-person options to consult with an allergist, immunologist, or urgent care provider. Board-certified allergists, in particular, possess advanced expertise in the field and stay updated on the latest advancements.

2. Schedule an Appointment

Schedule an appointment with the provider. Some clinics may offer online scheduling or have specific procedures for new patients.

3. Medical History and Symptom Discussion

During the appointment, your healthcare provider will inquire about your medical history, including any allergies, chronic conditions, and medications you are currently taking. They will want you to describe your allergy symptoms in detail, including triggers, frequency, and severity.

4. Physical Examination

Your healthcare provider might perform a physical examination to evaluate your overall health and look for any observable signs of allergies.

5. Allergy Testing (if necessary)

Based on your healthcare provider's evaluation and medical history, they may recommend allergy testing to identify specific allergens. Two types of allergy testing include skin testing and blood testing.

Both skin testing and blood testing provide valuable information to identify specific allergies. The choice between the two methods depends on individual circumstances and factors such as the type of allergen.

6. Diagnosis and Treatment Plan

After reviewing the results of any tests and considering your medical history, your healthcare provider will make a diagnosis and discuss a treatment plan with you. This plan may include lifestyle changes, over-the-counter medications, and potentially prescription medications for severe allergies.

7. Prescription Issued

If the healthcare provider deems prescription medications are necessary, they will write a prescription specifying the medication, dosage, frequency, and any other relevant instructions.

Now that the process for obtaining a prescription allergy medication has been reviewed, let's explore some of the most prescribed medications for effectively managing severe allergic reactions.

Top 7 RX Medications for Severe Allergy Management

In this section, we’ve highlighted 8 medications that could address symptoms caused by severe allergic reactions. We based our selection on key factors, including:

  • Efficacy
  • Mechanism of action
  • Active ingredient
  • Price
  • Ease of administration
  • Potential side effects

The purpose of this list is not to prompt individuals to pick their own prescriptions but to provide information about potential costs, side effects, and general knowledge. So, let’s get started!

Disclaimer:

The details, information, and prices provided in this article are accurate as of the time of writing. These details may vary over time due to factors such as product updates, market changes, or other external influences. We recommend verifying any crucial information or prices with relevant sources, as fluctuations and updates are possible.

Illustration of a healthcare provider asking questions on a smart phone.
Allergy treatment - Online visit
Get virtual care from a licensed clinician—no appointment needed
Illustration of a healthcare provider asking questions on a smart phone.
  • $29 one-time assessment
  • No video call or appointment necessary
  • Personalized treatment plan prescribed for your condition
See prices for Auvi-Q using insurance vs coupon

Auvi-Q is a reliable option for promptly and efficiently managing severe allergic reactions. It’s formulated to alleviate symptoms such as low blood pressure, wheezing, skin itching, and hives. This medication is essential in preventing anaphylactic shock, a potentially life-threatening condition.

Auvi-Q contains the active drug epinephrine, also known as adrenaline. This drug induces the narrowing of blood vessels, relaxation of airways to facilitate breathing, and increased blood pumping by the heart to maintain adequate blood pressure.

Designed for user convenience, the Auvi-Q auto-injector allows for easy self-administration and is available in various strengths tailored to individual needs. The price for one Auvi-Q kit starts from $664.38 and contains two auto-injectors.

One of Auvi-Q's standout features is its voice guidance system, which provides step-by-step audio instructions during the injection process. This feature is particularly valuable in high-stress situations, ensuring users can confidently and accurately administer the medication.

Pros

  • Compact and portable design for easy carrying.
  • Voice guidance system offers clear instructions.
  • User-friendly design.
  • It can be injected through clothing.
  • Available in three different strengths to meet individual needs.
  • Comes with a trainer device, an auto-injector without medication or needle, for at-home practice.
  • Trusted brand with a strong reputation in the market.

Cons

  • Higher cost compared to some alternatives.
  • Requires proper training for first-time users.
  • Limited shelf life, necessitating timely replacement.
  • It is necessary to store it within a designated temperature range.
  • May cause temporary side effects in some individuals.
See prices for EpiPen using insurance vs coupon

EpiPen, known by its generic name epinephrine, is a prescription-only brand-name medication by Viatris. The EpiPen's auto-injector is user-friendly, providing a straightforward and efficient method for administering epinephrine during severe allergic reactions.

The compact size of the EpiPen makes it conveniently portable, fitting into pockets, purses, or bags with ease. This ensures that people with allergies can carry it wherever they go, providing a sense of security at home, at work, or on the go.

A single package of either EpiPen or EpiPen Jr. (containing 2 auto-injectors) typically ranges from $650 to $700.

Pros

  • User-friendly design for easy administration.
  • Portable and accessible in various settings.
  • Potentially life-saving, preventing anaphylactic shock.
  • Widely available in schools, public places, and households.
  • Suitable for various age groups and settings.
  • It can be injected through clothing.

Cons

  • Limited shelf life, necessitating regular replacements.
  • Cost can be too high.
  • Risk of improper use without proper training.
  • Limited dosage options compared to Auvi-Q.

🔔 Reminder

Auvi-Q and EpiPen serve as emergency treatments for severe allergies. It's important to note that these should not be used as routine treatments for severe allergies. Instead, they are specifically designed to address type 1 hypersensitivity reactions that can be life-threatening if not promptly administered.

Dial 911 after administering an EpiPen or Auvi-Q. While epinephrine can provide immediate relief during a severe allergic reaction, it is not a substitute for professional medical care. Anaphylactic reactions can be unpredictable, and the individual may require further assessment, monitoring, and additional medical intervention.

See prices for Medrol using insurance vs coupon

Medrol is a prescription-only medication that provides effective allergy relief while being mindful of your budget. The active ingredient, Methylprednisolone, is a steroid that inhibits the release of inflammatory substances, relieving symptoms associated with severe allergic reactions.

Medrol tablets are available in strengths of 2, 4, 8, 16, or 32 mg, offering flexibility in addressing various medical conditions. For added convenience, Medrol is also available in dose packs. These packs enable users to organize tablets according to specific days and times, simplifying the medication routine.

Depending on the prescribed dosage, a 10-tablet supply ranges from $19.83 to $119.08. On the other hand, a single dose pack, which includes 21 tablets of 4mg Medrol, stands at $63.

Pros

  • An affordable option among oral corticosteroids.
  • Effectively addresses various immune system-related conditions.
  • Conveniently offered in a dose pack for organized daily use.

Cons

  • Long-term use may lead to complications and is not recommended.
  • Possible weight gain.
  • Can cause mood changes and sleep problems.
  • Skipping doses may lead to dangerous withdrawal symptoms.
  • Risk of osteoporosis.
  • Long-term use may increase the risk of developing cataracts, glaucoma, and certain eye infections.
See prices for Prednisone Intensol using insurance vs coupon

Prednisone Intensol Oral Solution is a formidable prescription-only response to severe allergies belonging to the corticosteroid family. It mimics the natural hormone cortisol to alleviate swelling, redness, and inflammation effectively.

This medication addresses a range of severe allergic conditions resistant to conventional treatments. Its indications include:

It’s formulated as a concentrated oral solution containing 5 mg per mL of prednisone USP. The cost of a 30 mL supply of Prednisone Intensol Oral Solution varies, typically between $143 to $199.

Pros

  • Effectively treats a variety of immune system-related conditions.
  • Offered in a liquid form, suitable for those with difficulty swallowing pills.
  • Affordable option.
  • Dose can be adjusted based on individual response.

Cons

  • Potential side effects include upset stomach, mood changes, and sleep disturbances.
  • Risk of adrenal suppression.
  • Prolonged use may increase the risk of infections, bone weakening, and skin issues.
  • Long-term use in children may lead to slowed growth.
See prices for Taperdex using insurance vs coupon

Taperdex is a versatile solution that effectively treats various conditions, including allergic disorders, skin issues, and breathing disorders. The active ingredient, Dexamethasone, works by suppressing the immune system's response to diseases, offering a targeted approach to managing inflammatory conditions.

Taperdex is a prescription-only medication available in 1.5mg strength and comes in dose packs with durations of 6, 7, and 12 days. It’s competitively priced, ranging from $29.25 to $111.86, making effective allergy management accessible to those who need it.

Pros

  • Effectively treats a range of conditions.
  • Affordable medication for severe allergic reactions.
  • Convenient oral administration for ease of use.
  • Takes effect within an hour.

Cons

  • Potential side effects, including but not limited to, insomnia, weight gain, and mood changes.
  • May interact with other medications, necessitating careful monitoring.

💡 Did You Know?

COVID-19 induces a state of heightened inflammation. In a clinical study involving hospitalized COVID-19 patients, the administration of dexamethasone led to a reduced 28-day mortality in individuals undergoing either mechanical ventilation or oxygen therapy.

Cortef

Cortef, available in convenient oral tablet form, is a powerful prescription corticosteroid medication designed to manage various conditions associated with an overactive immune system.

The active ingredient in Cortef, Hydrocortisone, is commonly prescribed for various conditions. It’s particularly effective in addressing allergic reactions, specific skin conditions, severe asthma, lupus, and arthritis.

Healthcare providers may recommend taking hydrocortisone 1 to 4 times a day or a single dose every other day. Cortef offers affordable prices, which range from $88 to $161.23.

Pros

  • Effectively manage severe allergies and immune system disorders.
  • Provides targeted relief within one to two hours.
  • Offers different dosage options.
  • Not as strong as other corticosteroids, reducing the likelihood of certain side effects.

Cons

  • Potential side effects, including weight gain, acne, and mood changes.
  • Long-term use may lead to adrenal gland suppression.
  • Extended usage may lead to issues affecting skin, bone, and eye.
  • Might be less effective, being a low-strength corticosteroid.
  • Prolonged use in children can potentially hinder normal growth.
See prices for Rayos using insurance vs coupon

Rayos is a prescription medication used to address various health conditions, including symptoms caused by severe allergic reactions. Its active component, Prednisone, is a corticosteroid that suppresses the immune system. This targeted approach inhibits chemicals responsible for inflammation, offering relief from severe allergic symptoms.

Formulated with a delayed onset, it takes about 4 hours for the effects of this medication to kick in. This delay proves beneficial in specific scenarios, particularly in relieving the heightened morning pain and stiffness associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

A 30-tablet supply of 1 mg Rayos oral delayed-release tablets costs approximately $2,918.

Pros

  • Effectively reduces inflammation associated with severe allergies.
  • Patients can administer it orally, offering convenience.
  • Provides relief for up to 22 hours, reducing the frequency of medication intake.

Cons

  • Can cause weight gain and mood changes.
  • May weaken the immune system, increasing susceptibility to infections.
  • May elevate blood sugar levels, posing risks for individuals with diabetes.
  • Long-term use may increase the risk of developing cataracts.
  • Prolonged use may contribute to bone density loss and osteoporosis.
  • Top-tier in cost.
  • Takes a longer time to effect.

⚠️ Health Warning

Prolonged use of corticosteroids can lead to adrenal suppression, a condition where your adrenal glands cease producing natural hormones, adapting to the presence of prednisone in your system. The adrenal gland is responsible for producing essential hormones in your body.

Final Thoughts

Various prescription medications for severe allergies offer diverse options to meet individual preferences and needs. Both Auvi-Q and EpiPen excel in rapidly providing emergency treatment for severe allergic reactions. They provide a reliable choice with their compact design and user-friendly features for quick and accurate self-administration during high-stress situations.

For severe allergies that are not life-threatening, a short course of oral steroids could be considered by your healthcare provider. Medrol is an affordable choice with various strengths and the convenience of dose packs. Prednisone tablets are also commonly used and are affordable. Prednisone Intensol Oral solution caters to individuals with difficulty swallowing pills.

It is important to consult a healthcare professional to determine the most suitable option and receive proper training for medication administration, ensuring a well-informed and safe approach to managing severe allergic reactions.

FAQs on Prescription Medications

Can antihistamines alone treat severe allergic reactions?

Antihistamines are generally not sufficient for treating severe allergic reactions. While they can help relieve itching and hives, they do not address the life-threatening symptoms of anaphylaxis. Epinephrine is the primary medication for such situations.

How do I know which prescription medication is right for my severe allergies?

Determining the right prescription medication for severe allergies requires consultation with a healthcare provider. They will consider the specific symptoms, medical history, and individual factors to tailor a treatment plan that may include epinephrine, corticosteroids, or other medications.

Why does "RX" mean prescription?

The term "RX" is derived from the Latin word "recipe," meaning "take." It has historically served as a medical symbol, indicating that a prescription is necessary for the medication.

How can I get an RX (prescription) online?

Getting a prescription online involves consulting with a licensed healthcare provider through a telehealth platform. After an evaluation, the provider may issue a prescription, and some services also facilitate online pharmacy delivery.

Can I use an RX (prescription) discount card with insurance?

In some cases, you cannot use a prescription discount card in conjunction with insurance. However, it's advisable to check with both the discount program and your insurance provider to understand the terms.

Illustration of a healthcare provider asking questions on a smart phone.
Allergy treatment - Online visit
Get virtual care from a licensed clinician—no appointment needed
Illustration of a healthcare provider asking questions on a smart phone.
  • $29 one-time assessment
  • No video call or appointment necessary
  • Personalized treatment plan prescribed for your condition