Suppression of acute symptoms
Whenever your allergic reaction is on the run, there is the hazard of new sensitisations to other allergens (your mucuous membranes become permeable to allergenic molecules). Therefore, it is necessary to stop the allergic reaction in order to avoid more complications, e.g. increasing or additional sensitisations or asthma. The following categories of drugs and treatment may be combined for better efficiency.
There are three major groups of anti-allergic drugs:
mast cell stabilizers:
Allergic subjects produce too many antibodies. They circulate with the blood and bind preferably to the mast cells in the mucosa. Mast cells are somewhat bigger than the cells of the rest of the tissue. When a certain amount of bindings has taken place, the mast cell releases histamine and several other messenger substances.
Histamine causes a swelling of the surrounding, in order to wash out the suspected enemy by means of increased blood supply and secretion. The other substances that are released cause the immuno system to produce more antibodies - more antibodies lead to more bindings to the mast cell ....
Mast cell stabilizers help the mast cell to tolerate a greater number of antibody bindings on itself without releasing all those unwelcome substances. Mast cell stabilzers are only effective when applied BEFORE the allergic reaction starts. Do not expect immediate relief after intake, the effect will be on reactions that shall take place after an hour or later. As the substance is affecting the mast cells only for limited time, it will be necessary to repeat the application several times a day.
Antihistamines neutralize the effects of histamine. They help to reduce the swelling and secretion even when the allergic reaction has already begun. Older antihistamines often used to make people tired after congestion as a side effect, the new generation does not. One can either take them in as a pill, or use sprays and eye drops for local application with quicker onset of the effect.
Antihistamines are the most widespread antialleric drugs. Some are offered as a combination of an antihistamine and other antiallergic substances, such as corticosteroids.
Although there is a fear in wide parts of the population of adverse effects, corticosteroids are useful for treatment of allergic symptoms. They defend the inflammatory processes which are an important part of the allergic reaction. For allergy treatment purposes, application as nasal spray is the most convenient way. Oral intake or injection may lead to adverse reactions in higher and repeatedly given doses.
Unspecific antbodies against human IgE have been produced in mice. The idea was to apply these antibodies to allergic patients in order to unspecifically block circulating IgEs (they are responsible for the allergic reactions). This anti-IgE is applied subcutaneaous every two - four weeks and should neutralize the circulating IgE antibodies. In practise, only patients with a low total IgE level have been effectively treated, as higher doses necessary for binding of higher Ige levels had adverse reactions.
are seldom effective compared to the drugs described above. In most cases, the effetiveness does not last for longer time. Finally, also other methods, as for instance akupunture or akupressure, may help to ease the symptoms.