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For Allergies, Drugs Work Surprisingly Well

For the live-updated, interactive version of this infographic, click here.

Well, this is a surprise.

In almost every single other infographic we’ve released, lifestyle changes have been at the top of the list of what works best, and drugs have been closer to the bottom. But the story is different for allergies, as you can see in the picture above.

At CureTogether, 260 people with Allergies have come together to share 1,769 data points about treatments they had tried and how well they worked or didn’t work.

So what are the winning treatments that patients have reported? From the infographic above:

avoiding allergens, Benadryl, sinus irrigation, Claritin, and Zyrtec

The top left quadrant shows treatments that not many people have tried but that have above-average effectiveness, so they may be options to talk to your doctor about (Prednisone, Xyzal, Cortaid).

Treatments in the lower-right quadrant are ones that lots of people have tried but that have below-average effectiveness, so presumably if fewer people tried these, they would be free to find more effective treatments elsewhere (homeopathy, calcium, acupuncture).

Where did this data come from? CureTogether members have been anonymously sharing symptoms and treatments for over 2 years now. We anonymized, analyzed, and visualized the data into infographic form to make it more accessible. To thank everyone for their contributions, we’re releasing this result back to the community for free.

This is the ninth in a series of infographics we’ll be publishing over the coming weeks. Stay tuned and please give your feedback or thoughts on this result in the comments below – or write to me at

Please tweet, blog, or pass this along to anyone who can benefit or is interested in Allergies. Thank you!

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6 Responses to “For Allergies, Drugs Work Surprisingly Well”

  1. Um, guys? Prednisone IS very effective, but it also has very serious side effects, so it’s only appropriate for very severe allergies where other treatments are inadequate. It isn’t “surprisingly” effective, and it probably should NOT be used more widely. Same goes for EpiPen, it’s just not appropriate for the majority of people with allergies.

    Which leaves the two most effective treatments as non-drug ones.

  2. Jane, you are right. Prednisone and EpiPen are different and we will edit the post according to your feedback. I should note that this chart reflects the average rating for each treatment, which factors in any negative ratings people may have provided. It also plots treatment ratings and popularity across multiple kinds of allergies, so in the future we will try to break it down into separate charts for each kind. Of course you should always talk to your doctor before considering any new treatment.

    Daniel Reda

  3. As above poster said, Prednisone is very effective but have serious side-effects such as osteoporosis and suicidal tendencies but these can easily be nulled if monitored closely. People with allergies should not go for Prednisone as a cure but should see it as an opportunity to ease symptoms or even become symptom-free for short periods of time. I, for example, use Prednisone during summertime and early fall to ease my symptoms. I also feel that it gives me breathing-room and I use bursts of Prednisone if I “need” to be healthy for a challenge, like hiking.

    Take extra Calcium and Vitamin D to minimize the risk for osteoporosis and try and avoid large amounts of alcohol when on a Prednisone-cure.

    Where I live, in Denmark, you cannot just buy Prednisone over the counter, to get it you have to speak with a physician and they are not very keen on tossing out Prednisone in Scandinavia.

    All in all, I think Prednisone is a good way of taking the edge off your symptoms, but it is not a treatment.

  4. Prednisone is not something you want to take unless you have very severe symptoms, and then you need to go off it as soon as possible. I took one 5 day course and will never take it again. Although it worked great at reducing the swelling in my sinuses, on the 5th day I switched from a fun, easy going mom into a screaming witch. It took me a few hours to figure out what was wrong with me and all my self control to keep myself in check. The doctor advised me to stay away from it in the future if possible. It was very scary! Luckily the symptoms only lasted that one day.

  5. I have tried them all (like I am sure many, if not all, of you). I was prescribed Accolate from my allergist. That has worked amazingly well. I don’t see it on the chart but side effects are minimal (some insomnia but it can be handled/controlled easily). Something to look into if you haven’t heard of it!

  6. Has anyone (else) tried taking Vit C for their allergies? I take at least 2 Grams per day. Some people can handle MUCH more. Google Vit C as an antihistamine. I CAN NOT BELIEVE it is not on this chart. I have had excellent results.

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