The Independent Pharmacy

How Many Hay Fever Tablets Are You Allowed To Take?

Scott McDougall
Scott McDougallMPharmDirector & Registered Manager

Reviewed on 2 May 2024

How many hayfever tablets can you take?

The general guideline is that one hay fever tablet per day is the recommended dosage for most over-the-counter antihistamines.

However, it’s crucial to remember that this is just a guideline, and the actual dosage may vary depending on your specific needs and the hay fever relief product you’re using. Always read those little labels carefully or consult your doctor or pharmacist for personalised advice.

While popping an extra pill might seem tempting when hay fever symptoms flare up, exceeding the recommended dose without medical supervision can lead to unpleasant side effects and even diminish the medication’s effectiveness.

So, let’s dive deeper into navigating this hay fever minefield together.

Key Takeaways:

  • The standard dosage for most over-the-counter antihistamine hay fever tablets is one per day, but always check product labels or consult your doctor for personalised guidance.
  • Your ideal dosage can vary based on factors like age, existing medical conditions, and interactions with other medications you’re taking.
  • If symptoms persist despite following dosage instructions, or if you experience adverse side effects, seek medical evaluation right away. Dosage adjustments may be needed.

How Many Hayfever Tablets Are You Allowed to Take?

For most over-the-counter antihistamine hay fever tablets, the standard recommended daily dosage is one tablet according to NICE.

However, it’s essential to double-check the specific instructions on the packaging, as dosages can vary between products and individual health considerations.

Always consult your doctor or pharmacist if you’re unsure about the proper dosage for your situation. They can provide personalised guidance based on factors like your age, weight, other medications, and overall health status.

Dosage Guidelines for Common Hayfever Tablets

Antihistamines

The majority of hay fever sufferers will likely be using over-the-counter antihistamine tablets like cetirizine (Zirtek), loratadine (Clarityn), or fexofenadine (Allevia). For these, that magical one-a-day tablet is typically the way to go.

Loratadine 10mg Tablets
Loratadine 10mg Tablets
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But don’t just take our word for it – always refer to the specific product’s instructions. Some antihistamines may have different dosing recommendations depending on whether they’re the non-drowsy or drowsy variety. And in certain cases, your doctor might adjust the dosage up or down based on how you’re responding.

Corticosteroids

If your hay fever symptoms are more severe, your doctor may prescribe a corticosteroid nasal spray like Beconase and Benacort, or tablets. These heavy hitters often start with a higher initial dose to get symptoms under control quickly before tapering down to a regular maintenance dose.

Beconase Nasal Spray
Beconase Nasal Spray
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It’s crucial to follow your doctor’s dosing instructions to the letter with these powerful medications. Taking too much can increase your risk of steroid side effects like insomnia, weight gain, or mood changes. Not enough, and you might not get the relief you need.

Decongestants and Other Medications

Sometimes, antihistamines alone just won’t cut it, and your doctor may recommend adding a decongestant like Benadryl Allergy Relief Plus for temporary relief of stuffy noses. If you go this route, it’s generally advisable to limit decongestant use to no more than 7 consecutive days to avoid becoming overly reliant on them.

Pay close attention to any signs that the decongestant is losing its effectiveness or causing rebound congestion. If that happens, it’s time to check in with your doctor about adjusting your allergy treatment.

Factors Influencing Dosage Decisions

Individual Health Conditions

Just like every person is unique, so are their health needs. Certain medical conditions can impact how your body processes and responds to hay fever medications, which might mean adjusting the typical dosage.

For example, if you have pre-existing conditions like heart disease or high blood pressure, or are pregnant or breastfeeding, some antihistamines may not be an option at all. In cases where they are recommended, your doctor will likely start you on a lower dose to monitor for any adverse effects.

The bottom line? Be open and honest with your healthcare provider about all your medical details. That way, they can tailor your hay fever treatment plan – including dosage – for maximum safety and effectiveness.

Age Considerations

According to the NHS, age is an important factor when determining antihistamines and hay fever medication dosages. For older adults over 65, dosage adjustments are often necessary due to potential changes in kidney and liver function that can affect how the body processes drugs.

The safest approach is to start with a lower dosage in this age group and gradually adjust under a doctor’s guidance. Metabolising medications more slowly puts older adults at higher risk for adverse effects if standard doses are exceeded.

By openly discussing age, current medications, and overall health status with a healthcare provider, an appropriate hay fever treatment plan can be developed that provides effective symptom relief while prioritising safety.

Interaction With Other Medications

If you’re already taking other prescription or over-the-counter medicines, it’s essential to loop in your doctor or pharmacist before adding a hay fever tablet to the mix. Some drugs can interact in ways that increase the risk of side effects or diminish the effectiveness of one or both medications.

For instance, certain antihistamines can amplify the sedating effects of medicines for anxiety or insomnia. Or hay fever decongestants might negatively impact blood pressure if taken with certain heart medications. Getting that professional green light on dosages could prevent a medical misadventure.

When to Consult a Healthcare Professional

Symptoms Persisting or Worsening

Even when taking hay fever medication as directed, sometimes those symptoms of allergies just won’t let up. If, despite your efforts to follow the dosage instructions, your allergy symptoms persist or worsen, please don't hesitate to reach out to your doctor for support and guidance.

Persistent or worsening hay fever could be a sign that you need an adjustment to your treatment plan. Maybe a higher dosage, an added medication, or even a switch to a different type of antihistamine altogether is what’s needed to finally quell that constant sneezing and congestion.

The key is being proactive about communicating with your healthcare provider. Don’t just resign yourself to suffering through another miserable allergy season and make sure you know how hay fever can affect your holiday if you're looking to travel. There are so many options available these days to get you back to breathing easy.

Experiencing Side Effects or Overdose Symptoms

On the flip side, if you’ve started experiencing worrisome side effects from your hay fever meds, like severe drowsiness, blurred vision, or rapid heartbeat, that’s also a signal to seek medical attention right away.

Side effects could indicate that the current dosage is too high for your needs. But trying to self-adjust by skipping doses or doubling up is definitely not the answer – that raises the risk of an accidental overdose.

Overdose can potentially lead to serious complications, so don’t hesitate to reach out for help if you suspect you’ve taken too much medication. Your doctor can get you back on track with a safe and effective dosage.

Regular Medication Reviews

Finally, remember that your body and hay fever symptoms can change over time. What worked like a charm for managing your allergies last year might not be cutting it anymore this hay fever season.

Your health and well-being are important to us, which is why we encourage you to schedule regular check-ins with your doctor, especially if you’re dealing with a chronic condition like hay fever. These reviews offer an opportunity to discuss any changes in your condition, address new concerns, and ensure your treatment plan remains effective and tailored to your needs.

You’ll go over how well your current medical treatment plan is working, discuss any new health developments that could impact dosages, and make adjustments as needed based on the latest guidelines and research. Constant re-evaluation is key to ensuring you get maximum relief with minimum side effects.

Take the Next Step With The Independent Pharmacy

While finding the proper dosage of hay fever tablets is essential, we recognise that effective allergy management requires a comprehensive approach. That’s where the experts at The Independent Pharmacy can lend a helping hand.

Our online self-assessment is designed specifically for hay fever sufferers to identify personalised treatment plans tailored to your unique symptoms and needs. From there, you’ll have access to our full range of trusted over-the-counter and prescription allergy medications, including the latest antihistamine options.

But The Independent Pharmacy goes beyond just medication. Our pharmacy team is available to provide expert guidance on developing a multi-faceted strategy to tackle hay fever from all angles - whether that’s avoiding triggers or adjusting treatment seasonally. And you can always read through our hay fever guides for more information.

If you’re ready to finally get lasting control over those frustrating allergy symptoms, take the first step by completing our online self-assessment or get in touch with our team today. The Independent Pharmacy is committed to supporting you through every phase of your personal hay fever journey with care and expertise.

FAQs

Is it okay to take 2 hay fever tablets a day?

In general, no – most over-the-counter antihistamines should be limited to one tablet per 24-hour period. Exceeding that dosage raises risks of adverse effects. However, in certain cases, your doctor may recommend a higher daily dose if one tablet doesn’t provide sufficient relief. The key is to follow dosage instructions carefully and get medical guidance before increasing on your own.

Can I take 4 antihistamines at once?

Absolutely not! Taking multiple antihistamine pills simultaneously could potentially lead to an accidental overdose, which can cause dangerous side effects like extreme drowsiness, blurred vision, low blood pressure and even seizures. One tablet at a time is the safest way to go when self-treating hay fever.

Can I take extra hay fever tablets?

While the appeal of getting extra relief by taking additional tablets is understandable, it’s simply not worth the risk of an accidental overdose or heightened side effects. Always stick to the recommended daily dosage on the label and consult your doctor before increasing, even if allergy symptoms are severe.

Why is hay fever worse at night?

Hay fever can often flare up more at night due to exposure to allergens like dust mites that accumulate in bedding. Evening air also tends to be more saturated with pollen. Using medication at the proper dosage can help control nighttime symptoms, but avoiding triggers like open windows is also key.

Can doctors prescribe stronger hay fever tablets?

Yes, when over-the-counter options aren’t providing sufficient relief, doctors are able to prescribe stronger prescription antihistamines and other allergy medications in varying dosage forms, like nasal sprays or injections. Getting evaluated for the right therapeutic regimen is important for surviving severe or persistent hay fever.

Sources:

NICE (2024). Oral antihistamines - https://cks.nice.org.uk/topics/allergic-rhinitis/prescribing-information/oral-antihistamines/

NHS (2023). Antihistamines - https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/antihistamines/

Christopher S. Borowy; Pinaki Mukherji. (2023). Antihistamine Toxicity - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482318/

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