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Don't know what to do anymore...


I've recently been really suffering with hayfever affecting my asthma. The antihistamines that I have are acrivastine OTC, and only work for about 2 hours as opposed to 8 like it says on the box. All other OTC antihistamines make me so tired I can't do anything but sleep. I had a review yesterday (which lasted 4 minutes?!) and told the nurse I'm using my reliever daily, waking up every night and have had to give up exercising. She seemed concerned until she did my pf, and then decided I was fine because it was suitably high so I must be fine. I don't know what the value was. I tried to explain that it remains high for ages them will suddenly drop by over a hundred but she said unless it does drop I'm fine. She told me that I couldn't be prescribed antihistamines because my preventer might need changing, but she wasn't going to do that as I'm going home from uni in 6 weeks so there'd be no point!

I really don't know what to do. I increased my preventer a few days ago but it's not helped yet. I can't afford to take the full dose of antihistamines as 3 tablets a day would cost me £10 a week, but I can barely manage without them. Everything is setting me off at the moment. The nurse will tell me it's nothing if I go and see her again but it's not nothing!!

I know there's not much anyone on here can do, but I just had to let it out!

10 Replies

Hi Rachel,

So sorry to hear you have not been well and struggling to control your Asthma and Hayfever. I have allergic Asthma and have suffered with Hayfever in the past.

I was prescribed Montilucast tablets-to help with Allergies. This seems to help. I am under a New Consultant and he changed my Inhalers but also prescribed a

Nasal spray to help with Rhinitis. Have you tried a nasal spray for Hayfever? - just a suggestion.

I have been having problems with my asthma over the last six months. The Doctors were saying it is severe and I have had lots of meds and time off work.

Feeling better but still have some wheezy days.

Hope your feeling better soon. Hugs.

Hedgehog (Debbie )


Hi Rachel, I would go and see you GP about the hayfever, rather than the asthma nurse. It is a separate condition to your asthma and as such you are within your rights to go to the Dr and tell him you are struggling. Ask him if he can prescribe you non-drowsy antihistamines at a suitable strength, rather than you not being able to afford to take over the counter hayfever meds at the right doseage- if it has a negative effect on your asthma it is important they are treating the hayfever properly. As others have said he might also suggest montelukast or a nasal spray- either way its something you should be talking to your dr about, especially if you are going home in 6 weeks and wont have continuity of care (better to get it under control now before you are away from the dr!).

I hope you can get something sorted soon. I take antihistamines in high doses because I have a skin condition and I understand the problem with sedative antihistamines! I used to take cetirizine (piriteze is the over the counter brand name) and was prescribed to take 4 times the licenced dose, now I take levocetirizine which is a new version of cetirizine and I find it much more effective in smaller doses. I have found they don't sedate me like other antihistamines do, and ive tried tons of them over the years!


Your GP can prescribe Telfast (fexofenadine), which is non sedating, and taken once a day. It comes in 120mg and 180mg. I take 180mg. Monteleukast also helps with allergic asthma. I take 10mg twice daily and it has, in combination with the telfast, reduced my grass allergy related exacerbations.


Hi Rachel,

Sorry to hear about your difficulties. Unfortunately, the frustration is something which I can relate to and have even (quite firmly) said to a GP that in order to walk 20minutes to the surgery with bad asthma, I have had to take my reliever inhaler several times so of course my peak flow will be higher than expected with bad asthma. As someone on here once said to me, if my inhaler wasn't working then I would be at the hospital, it is the fact that I have come because I am having that much of it! Just wanted to reassure you that you are not the only one who gets this type of treatment.

I agree with the others about seeing a GP. If you wait, you are potentially leaving it too late (depending on the type of pollen you are allergic to). The first thing my cons did when I was first referred was to get better control of allergies.

Take care


I switched a few weeks ago from loratadine to fexofenadine 180mg and it has make a huge difference to my asthma symptoms. I react to tree and grass pollen. I wish I had switched years ago. My symptoms start in Feb each year and May, June, July are my worst months. So far so good. I have never heard of having to change preventers to go on antihistamines before either.


Thanks for the replies :)

Ceterizine and loratidine are the worst for me! With ceterizine I literally can do nothing but sleep for hours afterwards, with loratidine I can force my self to stay awake, but I can't focus/ concentrate on anything. Neither do anything to help with the symptoms of hayfever. I have tried nasal sprays when I was younger (I can't remember what they were) but they didn't help so I just gave up using them. I'm just concerned that other non-drowsy ones will have the same effect on me, in which case I'd rather use nothing and just put up with it.

I don't know what I'm allergic to (I get symptoms from april- august which covers pretty much every kind of pollen looking at some maps I've found online!) and I haven't been told I have allergic asthma. Usually it doesn't affect me this much but I have been worse all year so I guess I'm starting from a different point. Today I walked to the library and was out of breath half way there. It's a 5 minute walk that I've done pretty much everyday since September and it's never got to me before! I suppose it did make me spend longer sat down and working in the library (silver linings haha). The only reason I can think of with the nurse saying prescribe them is because maybe they didn't want to change too much at the same time since I get side effects from inhalers usually? But then again she did nothing so I don't really think it could be that!

I might go next week since my exams finish on Friday so it won't be the end of the world if something makes me fall asleep (unless it happens whilst I'm out with friends and they put pictures on facebook!)


Hi Rachel,

I get frusterated with antihistamines too. I take them because I think they help some, but I take ceterizine (for the last 10 years), and it's stopped working. I take it with phenergan- which I orginally took for migraine nausea, but which if I stop taking my allergies are terrible. Oh and phenergan is supposed to make you really really tired, but it makes me more awake. Aren't bodies weird?

I was just wondering if you've ever tried montelukast though? I've been on that for about 10 years too. I had one consultant who took me off of it for a month, and I was completely miserable. It works on allergies, but it's different form an antihistamine. You might find it doesn't sedate you. I know it's frusterating, but sometimes I've been through up to 4 drugs to find that the 5th. one worked.

I just started this older drug called Zyflo CR. I'm in the States so I don't know the generic. It turns out it came out before singulair and most people don't take it anymore, but it works on a different part of the allergy cascade than singulair. Anyways, it seems to be helping.




The advice given by Bee and others is very sound only a couple of things that I would add.

Firstly, with medications like nasal sprays and eye drops you need to go through a 'Loading Dose' and 'Maintenance Dose' regime, before you start to feel the real benefits of these medications. The loading dose may be over the course of several days and perhaps a 'maintenance' thereafter. Unfortunately, missing several doses may knock you back to square one.

Secondly, have you considered getting your medication on prescription using the NHS Prepayment Prescription Certificate? - (I'm assuming you're in the UK). Although, the upfront cost seems high, however, over the course of a year it works out cheaper if you ensure all your medications are on your 'repeat prescriptions'.




Thanks Bee and Logan

It would be lovely if we all worked as we're supposed to and everyone responded to the same drug in the same way!

I've never tried montelukast since in the past I've just stuck to OTC antihistamines as the doctor's I've seen have refused to prescribe them. I guess it's because I was a kid and as always happens, seemed fine when I went so they thought I was over reacting. After a couple of years I just gave up asking my parents to take me. I've tried cetirizine and loratadine for months on end without missing a dose and had no effect, and I've tried taking them together to see if they could have a combined effect, but all they do is make me tired. The tiredness is less of an issue now I've finished uni for the summer, but it's still annoying to not be able to enjoy my time off! I've actually just guessed that it's 6pm by how tired and I by remembering I took acrivastine at 12pm! I suppose it's useful in helping me know what time it is! It is only acrivastine that I have missed doses of, although I have managed 3 a day since monday because I found a buy one get one free offer so stocked up!

I have a HC2 form, so get free prescriptions since I'm a student, the issue is that the nurse (and doctors in the past) are just refusing to prescribe me anything because they think I'm just over reacting and hayfever barely bothers me. No one seems concerned about it affecting my asthma. It really annoys me because I have friends who have prescription strength antihistamines just because they're able to cry and make it sound like their life is over, when in actual fact they don't take them and they're still fine. They just wanted them 'in case'.


Have you tried telling the gp how much it affects your asthma? Sorry don't mean to be rude but know that sometimes I know that I expect them to realise things when I haven't actually said it. I'm lucky I just asked my gp to put one on my repeat, and because she knew I had ended up in hospital with hayfever related attack she did.


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