Can you overdose on over-the-counter allergy medication?

The arrival of June means the plumes of tree pollen that have set off millions of sneezes this spring are giving way to an equally intense outpouring of grass pollen.

05/31/23 – BOSTON, MA. – Inhaler illustration. Photo by Alyssa Stone/Northeastern University

Will the remedies seasonal allergy sufferers rely on for relief hold up to the newest onslaught of respiratory irritants?

It’s not unusual for people to have to add to or switch up their medications for seasonal allergies, says Mansoor Amiji, distinguished professor pharmaceutical science and chemical engineering at Northeastern.

But with climate change extending and intensifying seasonal allergy seasons, there is a concern that people seeking added relief will “self titrate” by increasing doses of over-the-counter medication without consulting a physician or pharmacist first, Amiji says.

“Depending on symptoms we have, we tend to either over-medicate ourselves or under-medicate ourselves,” he says.

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