A Small Overdose of Allergy Medicine


To most people spring is a pleasant season, but to me the blooming flowers and the smells of blossom mean only one thing – allergies.

I’ve suffered from allergies for as long as I can remember. I’m allergic to a long list of trees and grasses (some cause minor discomfort and some, like olive blossoms cause severe reactions).  Everything I’m allergic to seems to bloom in late April and early May.

I used to take all kinds of medication for my allergies; most of them started to work after a few weeks – when allergy season ended.  But kidding aside, although they did not cure me, they usually relieved some of the sneezing, coughing, itching, and breathing problems I suffer from during the spring (The breathing problems are the worst and I’ve checked myself in to the emergency room a few times for some sort of asthmatic-like attacks.)

Diabetes changed things with my allergies. The allergies did not get better but the allergy medicine seems to affect my blood sugar levels in a bad way.

So, I made a decision a few years ago to only take allergy medicine when my allergies are so bad I can’t function otherwise.  I think I draw the line at 20 sneezes per minute.

Wednesday was a more than 20 sneezes per minute kind of day. It was muggy, with so much dust in the air you could taste it, even feel it on your teeth when you chewed. Jessica couldn’t wear her contact lenses, and though she doesn’t suffer from spring allergies, she was uncomfortable.  I was a mess.  My eyes were totally irritated.  I was officially miserable. I got through the morning and went to an appointment I had at the diabetes clinic. When I drove back at around 3:30 p.m. the heat had broken and winds began to blow dust and pollen everywhere. I sat in the car with the windows closed and the air on, sneezing as I drove home.

I was incredibly happy about getting a metformin prescription, but other than that, I just couldn’t stand anything.

In the evening I gave in and went to take my allergy medicine. I took the small pill out of the wrapper and then without much thought, took a second pill. My condition was so bad I figured a double dose wouldn’t hurt. It took a while for the medicine to work, if it did at all, but when I went to sleep my symptoms seemed better.   As soon as I woke up, I took another pill.

I didn’t feel very well, wasn’t sure why.  I had started metformin, re-started my statin, and taken a whole bunch of allergy pills.  Plus, I still had the allergies themselves.

I went out for a meeting and came home at around 12:00 p.m. feeling horrible and having a hard time staying alert.

Jessica looked at me and said, “You look drugged”. 

I told her about the double dose of the allergy medication and that I’d taken another one this morning. She looked it up online and told me that I should have only taken one pill each 24 hours.  I probably over dosed.

I went to the couch and lay down. I fell asleep for a few hours not even getting up when the kids came home from school.   I felt groggy all day and on Friday morning felt terrible when I went out for a 12 mile run (which I stopped a mile short).

The surprising thing is that none of this affected my blood sugar levels, but I’ll be staying clear of allergy medicine for a while anyway.

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Dr. Margaret A. Morris
10 years ago

I also feel silly reading over that comment, realizing that I used “sort of” three times in as many sentences.

Dr. Margaret A. Morris
10 years ago

I once got stung by a bee and took some sort of anti-histamine when it started to swell up. I had never taken any sort of allergy medication before, and so I really got worried when I could barely stay awake that afternoon– “What’s wrong with me? Why am I _so_ tired??” When I finally read the side effects on the side of the bottle, I felt sort of silly :)

Linda Nortje
10 years ago

Hey Michael, I’m also on some different medications (for something else, though) and more than once I found myself taking a tablet and in about an hour I feel the same or worse and then I start doubting whether I took my meds yet or not .. lol .. mostly I did, and as you now know, one gets drugged ! Now I have a little 1 week (per day) dispenser which is very helpful – if there are no more left for the day it means, duh Linda, you had your share today … But, allergy meds are actually… Read more »

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