Skin testing is considered the test of choice in the evaluation of allergies because it is a safe, quick, accurate, and nearly painless procedure. It can easily be performed in the clinic setting and provides answers in less than 30 minutes. Skin testing is minimally intrusive and is well tolerated by young children (as young as a few months of age), as well as adults! To perform a skin test, drops of allergen extracts are placed on the forearms or the back and subsequently pricked with a plastic device or a small needle. This feels like someone is pressing the tip of a pen or pencil onto the skin. There is no bleeding. Allergies reveal themselves as red, itchy, mosquito like bumps called wheals. These itchy spots typically go away on their own in less than an hour. The test is very safe, including in those who have very severe food allergies.


Antihistamines will inhibit the formation of wheals during skin testing and it is thus important to stop taking them up to a week prior to the day when the skin test will be done.


In order to be able to perform a skin test accurately, you must stop certain medications several days prior to your appointment.


Medications which should be stopped before skin testing include:


Medications to be stopped 7 days before the appointment:

Cetirizine (Zyrtec, Zyrtec D)

Desloratadine (Clarinex, Clarinex D)

Doxepin (Sinequan)

Fexofenadine (Allegra, Allegra D)

Loratadine (Claritin, Claritin D, Alavert)

Levocetirizine (Xyzal)

Meclizine (Antivert, Dramamine)


Antihistamines to be stopped 5 days before the appointment:

Brompheniramine (Actifed, Atrohist, Dimetap, Drixoral)

Chlorpheniramine (Chlortimeton, Deconamine, Novafed, Rynatan)

Clemastine (Tavist, Antihist)

Cyproheptadine (Polaramine)

Diphenhydramine (Allernix, Benadryl, Nytol, Tylenol PM)

Doxylamine (Bendectin, Nyquil)

Hydroxizine (Atarax, Marax, Vistaril)

Promethazine (Phenergan)


Stomach medications to stop 5 days before the appointment:

Cimetidine (Tagamet)

Famotidine (Pepcid)

Nizatidine (Axid)

Ranitidine (Zantac)


Nasal sprays and eye drops to stop 5 days before the appointment:

Azelastine (Astelin, Astepro, Dymista, Optivar)

Bepotastine (Bepreve)

Ketotifen (Zaditor, Alaway)

Olapatadine (Pataday, Patanase, Pazeo)

Pheniramine (Visine A, Naphcon A)



Note that there are many other over the counter cold medications and sleep aids which contain antihistamines. This includes Tylenol Allergy, Actifed Cold, Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold and Cough, and many others. Please check the ingredients of any over the counter medication to ensure they do not contain any of the above ingredients.



You should NOT stop your asthma medications. This includes your inhalers and singulair (montelukast).


There is NO need to stop steroid nose sprays (flonase, fluticasone, rhinocort, budesonide, nasacort, triamcinolone, flonase sensimist) or oral steroids (medrol, prednisone).




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