allegra or claritin - scriptsave wellrx blog image

By Rosanna Sutherby, PharmD

Antihistamines, or allergy medicines, come in all shapes and sizes. Nearly all are now available over the counter (OTC). With so many choices currently available, you may wonder what the differences are among them.

Antihistamines fall into two categories: first-generation antihistamines and second-generation antihistamines. First-generation antihistamines are older products that are shorter acting and are more likely to cause drowsiness, dizziness, and other side effects. Second-generation antihistamines were introduced in the 1990s and have minimal or no sedating side effects. These newer drugs are also longer acting and are generally dosed once a day. Allegra (fexofenadine) and Claritin (loratadine) fall into the category of second-generation antihistamines. The following is a comparison between the two.

Prescribed an allergy medication? Don’t pay full price.

How Do Allegra and Claritin Work?

Allegra and Claritin work by blocking the effects of histamine, a chemical that your body releases when exposed to allergens, such as pollen, ragweed, or pet dander. Histamine triggers symptoms such as sneezing, itching, runny nose, and watery eyes.

What Conditions Do Allegra and Claritin Treat?

Allegra is indicated for the treatment of seasonal and yearlong allergies in patients ages 2 years and older. It is also used to relieve chronic itching in patients ages 6 months and older.

Claritin is used to treat the symptoms of seasonal and yearlong allergies, as well as chronic itching in patients ages 2 years and older. Claritin has also been used off label (not FDA approved) to prevent exercise-induced asthma in patients with allergies.

How Long Do Allegra and Claritin Last?

Allegra generally starts working about 1 hour after you take it. The effects of a 60 mg dose last about 12 hours, and a 120 mg or 180 mg dose last about 24 hours.

Claritin begins to work about 1 to 3 hours after you take it, and the effects of a 10 mg dose last about 24 hours.

What Are the Side Effects of Allegra and Claritin?

The most commonly reported side effects for Allegra are the following:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Back pain
  • Pain in hands or feet
  • Stomach problems

The most common side effects associated with Claritin are the following:

  • Headache
  • Sleepiness
  • Tiredness
  • Dry mouth
  • Nervousness
  • Wheezing

If you have kidney problems, talk to your doctor about lowering your dose of Allegra or Claritin.

If you have liver problems, you can take the full dose of Allegra, but Claritin’s dose may need to be adjusted.

What Medications Interact with Allegra and Claritin?

If you are taking Allegra, be aware of the following potential interactions:

  • Antacids: You should not take Allegra within 15 minutes of taking antacids containing aluminum or magnesium
  • Ketoconazole: Ketoconazole may interfere with the metabolism of Allegra and cause the medication to build up in your body.
  • Erythromycin: Erythromycin may interfere with the metabolism of Allegra and cause the medication to build up in your body.
  • Fruit Juices: Fruit juices, such as grapefruit juice, orange juice, and apple juice, may reduce the effects of Allegra.

Claritin has fewer interactions than Allegra. You should not take Claritin with other antihistamines or allergy medications.

Can I Take Allegra or Claritin if I Am Pregnant or Breastfeeding?

Allegra is classified as pregnancy category C, which means that you should use it only if the potential benefits of taking the medication outweigh the potential risks to your baby. Be sure to discuss your options with your OB/GYN.

Claritin is classified as pregnancy category B, which means that the medication is generally safe to use during pregnancy if it is clearly needed. Other medicines in category B include prenatal vitamins and acetaminophen (Tylenol).

Claritin passes into breast milk, and you should not take it while you are breastfeeding. Researchers do not know if Allegra passes into breast milk. Given the lack of information, you should not use Allegra if you are nursing. Antihistamines, in general, tend to dry up breast milk. If you are breastfeeding, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about safe options to treat allergy symptoms.

Which Is Better — Allegra or Claritin?

The choice between Allegra and Claritin depends on several factors. Allegra can be used by patients as young as 6 months, and you do not need to adjust the dose if you have liver problems. However, Claritin has fewer drug interactions than Allegra, and it is a safer choice if you are pregnant.

2001 study that compared Allegra and Claritin for the treatment of seasonal allergy symptoms showed that Claritin was better at relieving symptoms and worked faster than Allegra. However, after seven days, the effects of the two drugs were similar. Participants of this study took 10 mg of Claritin once a day or 60 mg of Allegra twice a day.

Another clinical trial in which participants took 10 mg of Claritin once a day or 120 mg of Allegra once a day showed that Allegra was better at relieving itchy, watery eyes, and nasal congestion. Allegra was also better at improving quality of life.

How Much Do Allegra and Claritin Cost?

Allegra and Claritin are both available OTC without a prescription. As of the time this article, the average retail cost for 30 fexofenadine (generic for Allegra) 180 mg tablets is about $15. The average retail cost for 30 loratadine (generic for Claritin) 10 mg tablets is about $11.

If your insurance does not cover Allegra or Claritin because they are available OTC, you can use the ScriptSave WellRx discount card for the best prescription savings at a pharmacy near you.

Rosanna Sutherby is a freelance medical writer who has been a practicing pharmacist in her community for close to 20 years. She obtained her Doctor of Pharmacy from Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. She utilizes her clinical training in the pharmacy, where she helps patients manage disease states such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and many others. Dr. Sutherby reviews and recommends drug regimens based on patients’ concurrent conditions and potential drug interactions.

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538188/

https://www.wellrx.com/FEXOFENADINE%20HCL/monographs/

https://www.wellrx.com/LORATADINE/monographs/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3667286/#:~:text=A%20major%20advance%20in%20antihistamine,of%20the%20blood%E2%80%93brain%20barrier.

https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2008/020872s018,021963s002lbl.pdf

https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2000/20641s7lbl.pdf

https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/406235_1

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10848909/

https://www.wellrx.com/prescription-discount-card/

allergy and blood pressure meds - wellrx blog image

By Rosanna Sutherby, PharmD

Allergy season is in full swing in many parts of the country. For some, that means battling symptoms, such as sneezing, congestion, runny nose, itching, and watery eyes. If you are among the over 50 million Americans who suffer from allergies each year, you may be headed to a pharmacy near you for relief of your allergy symptoms. Choosing allergy medication that is right for you may be tricky if you have hypertension (high blood pressure). Read on to learn how some allergy medicines may affect your blood pressure and your blood pressure medication.

What Are Different Types of Allergy Medicines?

Today, multiple products are available to treat several allergy symptoms. Antihistamines are used for relief of runny nose, sneezing, itching, and watery eyes. Second-generation antihistamines are used more often for seasonal allergies because they do not cause as much drowsiness as older antihistamines, and their effects last longer. Medications in this category include the following:

Oral decongestants, such as the following, are available for relief of congestion or stuffy nose:

Steroid nasal sprays, such as the following, are also effective at relieving nasal congestion:

Antihistamine nasal sprays, such as the following, can target allergy symptoms directly in the nose and sinuses:

Saline nasal sprays and rinses are also effective at clearing nasal passages and relieving congestion. Common names for saline nasal sprays and rinses include the following:

  • Ocean
  • Ayr
  • Simply Saline
  • Neti Pot

Antihistamine eye drops can be beneficial for treating itchy and watery eyes. The following products are commonly used for long-lasting relief:

Which Allergy Medications Affect My Blood Pressure?

You should avoid decongestants if you have high blood pressure or heart problems. Decongestants constrict (narrow) blood vessels to open nasal passages and facilitate breathing. Because decongestants constrict blood vessels throughout your body, they can worsen hypertension. Additionally, decongestants stimulate the release of norepinephrine in your body, which raises your blood pressure and your heart rate.

When choosing an allergy medication, be aware of combination products that contain decongestants. Products that contain a decongestant typically have the words sinuscoldcongestion, or decongestant on the label. They may also be labeled with the letters D, PD, or PE after the name.

Examples of allergy medicines that contain decongestants include the following:

  • Allegra D (fexofenadine and pseudoephedrine)
  • Benadryl D (diphenhydramine and pseudoephedrine)
  • Clarinex D (desloratadine and pseudoephedrine)
  • Claritin D (loratadine and pseudoephedrine)
  • Sudafed Sinus and Allergy (chlorpheniramine and pseudoephedrine)
  • Zyrtec D (cetirizine and pseudoephedrine)

The list above is a small sample of allergy medications that contain decongestants. Always check with your pharmacist before choosing allergy medications.

Do Allergy Medicines Interact with My Blood Pressure Medication?

Most antihistamines are generally safe to take with your blood pressure medication. However, keep in mind the following drug interactions if you are taking medication for your blood pressure:

  • fexofenadine (Allegra): Carvedilol (Coreg) may increase the effects of fexofenadine. Use fexofenadine cautiously if you are taking carvedilol.
  • cetirizine (Zyrtec) and levocetirizine (Xyzal): You may experience increased drowsiness if you take cetirizine or levocetirizine in combination with methyldopa (Aldomet).
  • diphenhydramine (Benadryl): Any product containing diphenhydramine may counteract the effects of many of your blood pressure medications. Be sure to talk with your pharmacist before taking any diphenhydramine products.

What Allergy Medicines Can I Take if I Have High Blood Pressure?

Although some allergy medicines affect your blood pressure or interact with your blood pressure medication, safe options for treating your allergy symptoms exist if you have high blood pressure.

Second-generation antihistamines that are not combined with decongestants are generally safe to use if you are not taking the blood pressure medicines listed in the drug interaction section above. Second-generation antihistamines include the following:

  • Allegra (fexofenadine)
  • Clarinex (desloratadine)
  • Claritin (loratadine)
  • Xyzal (levocetirizine)
  • Zyrtec (cetirizine)

If your symptoms include nasal congestion, the following options are generally safe to use as decongestants:

  • steroid nasal sprays, such as Flonase (fluticasone), Nasacort (triamcinolone), and Rhinocort (budesonide)
  • antihistamine nasal sprays, such as Astelin (azelastine) and Patanase (olopatadine)
  • saline nasal sprays or rinses, such as Ayr, Ocean, Simply Saline, or Neti Pot

Antihistamine eye drops, such as Pataday (olopatadine) and Zaditor (ketotifen), are safe options for itchy watery eyes.

Can I Compare Prescription Prices before Filling My Allergy Medicine?

The majority of allergy medications are now available over the counter. This means that many insurance plans no longer cover your allergy medicine. If your insurance does not cover your medication, you can use a prescription savings card to get the lowest prescription price. You can save up to 80% or more off the retail price by using the ScriptSave® WellRx discount card at a pharmacy near you.

Rosanna Sutherby is a freelance medical writer who has been a practicing pharmacist in her community for close to 20 years. She obtained her Doctor of Pharmacy from Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. She utilizes her clinical training in the pharmacy, where she helps patients manage disease states such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and many others. Dr. Sutherby reviews and recommends drug regimens based on patients’ concurrent conditions and potential drug interactions.

References:

https://www.aafa.org/allergy-facts/

https://www.wellrx.com/fexofenadine%20hcl/monographs/

https://www.wellrx.com/desloratadine/drug-information/

https://www.wellrx.com/loratadine/drug-information/

https://www.wellrx.com/levocetirizine%20dihydrochloride/drug-information/

https://www.wellrx.com/cetirizine%20hcl/drug-information/

https://www.wellrx.com/pseudoephedrine%20hcl/monographs/

https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a606008.html

https://www.wellrx.com/flonase%20allergy%20relief/drug-information/

https://www.wellrx.com/nasacort/drug-information/

https://www.wellrx.com/rhinocort%20allergy/drug-information/

https://www.wellrx.com/beconase%20aq/drug-information/

https://www.wellrx.com/astepro/drug-information/

https://www.wellrx.com/patanase/drug-information/

https://www.wellrx.com/pataday/drug-information/

https://www.wellrx.com/zaditor/drug-information/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/expert-answers/high-blood-pressure/faq-20058281

https://www.wellrx.com/cetirizine%20hcl/monographs/

https://www.wellrx.com/diphenhydramine%20hcl/monographs/

https://www.wellrx.com/

https://www.wellrx.com/prescription-discount-card/

best otc allergy meds - wellrx blog image

By Rosanna Sutherby, PharmD

With allergy season upon many parts of the country, you may be rushing to a pharmacy near you for some relief from your allergy symptoms. Some doctor’s offices may be closed in an effort to practice social distancing, and it may be difficult to obtain a prescription for your allergy medicine.

Fortunately, many effective allergy medications are available over the counter (OTC) without a prescription. Managing your allergy symptoms is possible using OTC allergy medicine. Before visiting a pharmacy near you, read the following guide on choosing the best OTC allergy medicine.

What Is the Best OTC Antihistamine for Allergies?

If you are treating symptoms of seasonal allergies, such as runny nose, sneezing, itching, and watery eyes, you may need to take allergy medication for a few months or, sometimes, year-round. In this case, second-generation antihistamines are your best choice for long-term and effective treatment of your symptoms. Second-generation antihistamines are newer antihistamines that were developed to minimize the drowsiness, dizziness, and dryness that older antihistamines cause. Drugs in this class include the following:

Antihistamines help relieve your allergy symptoms by preventing the effects of histamine, a substance that your body releases in response to allergens, such as pollen and ragweed. Histamine is responsible for symptoms such as sneezing, itching, runny nose, and watery eyes. Ideally, you should start taking your antihistamines before allergy season starts because they work better at preventing allergy symptoms than at treating them once symptoms have appeared.

When Do You Need an Oral Decongestant?

Sometimes your allergy symptoms include nasal congestion. If this is the case, you may need a nasal decongestant. Nasal decongestants work by shrinking swollen blood vessels in your nasal passages, which opens them and improves breathing, and by increasing drainage of your sinuses. OTC oral products in this category include the following:

You should not use oral decongestants if you have high blood pressure or heart problems. These medications can increase blood pressure and heart rate. Be sure to check with your pharmacist before taking OTC allergy medicine. Many products are combination medications that contain decongestants.

When Should You Use a Nasal Spray?

If your allergy symptoms are primarily runny or stuffy nose, several options exist for nasal sprays to treat these symptoms.

Steroid nasal sprays that not long ago required a prescription are now sold over the counter. Steroid nasal sprays work by reducing inflammation and swelling in your nasal passages. Products in this category include the following:

Saline nasal sprays work well to rinse allergens and mucus from your nose and clear congestion. Saline nasal sprays or rinses are safe options if you need a decongestant, and you have high blood pressure or heart problems. You can use a saline nasal spray or rinse before you use your steroid nasal spray to clear the nasal passages, or you can use it on its own as a decongestant.

Common names for OTC saline nasal sprays or rinses include the following:

  • Ocean
  • Ayr
  • Simply Saline
  • Neti Pot

When Do You Need Antihistamine Eye Drops?

For some people, allergy season comes with itchy eyes that oral antihistamines cannot control. If this is the case for you, you may benefit from an antihistamine eye drop. Antihistamine eye drops work directly in your eyes to block the release of histamine and prevent allergy symptoms. Several products that used to require a prescription are now available over the counter.

The best options for long-lasting relief include the following products:

  • olopatadine (Pataday): You can use the 0.2% drops once a day or the 0.1% drops once or twice a day.
  • ketotifen (Zaditor): Ketotifen can provide relief for up to 12 hours.

Follow these steps to administer your eye drops:

  1. Slightly tilt your head back and look up.
  2. Pull down on your lower lid to make a pocket.
  3. Without touching the tip of the bottle to your eye or eyelids, squeeze one drop into the pocket of your lower lid.
  4. Close your eye, and do not blink.
  5. Press gently on your tear duct to keep the eye drop from draining into your nose.
  6. Replace the lid on the eye drop bottle and rewash your hands.

Whether allergy season brings a runny nose and sneezing, or your symptoms include itchy and watery eyes, you can find relief with OTC allergy medication. Although your doctor may write a prescription for allergy medication, some insurance plans may not cover them because they are available over the counter. If your insurance does not cover your medication, you can use a free Rx savings card to get the lowest prescription price.

Rosanna Sutherby is a freelance medical writer who has been a practicing pharmacist in her community for close to 20 years. She obtained her Doctor of Pharmacy from Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. She utilizes her clinical training in the pharmacy, where she helps patients manage disease states such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and many others. Dr. Sutherby reviews and recommends drug regimens based on patients’ concurrent conditions and potential drug interactions.

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9951950

https://www.wellrx.com/fexofenadine%20hcl/monographs/

https://www.wellrx.com/desloratadine/drug-information/

https://www.wellrx.com/loratadine/drug-information/

https://www.wellrx.com/levocetirizine%20dihydrochloride/drug-information/

https://www.wellrx.com/cetirizine%20hcl/drug-information/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538188/

https://www.wellrx.com/pseudoephedrine%20hcl/monographs/

https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a606008.html

https://www.wellrx.com/flonase%20allergy%20relief/drug-information/

https://www.wellrx.com/nasacort/drug-information/

https://www.wellrx.com/rhinocort%20allergy/drug-information/

https://www.wellrx.com/pataday/drug-information/

https://www.wellrx.com/zaditor/drug-information/

https://www.aao.org/eye-health/treatments/how-to-put-in-eye-dropshttps://www.wellrx.com/prescriptions/

allergies sudafed - wellrx blog image

by Marina Matthews, PharmD Candidate Class of 2020
University of Kansas College of Pharmacy

When allergies run amuck or cold and flu season begins, many patients run to the pharmacy and reach for some easy over-the-counter relief. There are many options when it comes to the nasal decongestant medications but there is one treatment many swear by, Sudafed®, also known as pseudoephedrine. 

While over 18 million American families rely on these medicines every year, pseudoephedrine can also be used in the illegal manufacture of methamphetamine.1 When purchasing this medication, there are laws in place which limit purchasing and can add an additional step to your visit to the pharmacy counter.

What is Pseudoephedrine? 

Pseudoephedrine (PSE), or Sudafed®, is generally a safe and effective ingredient found in some cold, allergy, and sinus medicines to provide congestion relief. It works directly in the respiratory tissues by stimulating vasoconstriction (or the shrinking of vessels) in the nose. This response reduces nasal drainage and helps to clear the sinuses and provide relief for cold and flu symptoms.2 

Side Effects of Sudafed

Because of the way it works, pseudoephedrine can have some undesirable side effects such as increased heart beat, tremors, and increased pressure in your heart.2 These side effects can add increased risk in some patients with other conditions.

If you have medical diagnoses such as high blood pressure, heart failure, kidney issues, or glaucoma, speak to your doctor or pharmacist prior to using pseudoephedrine.

Purchasing Pseudoephedrine

In 2005, Congress passed the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act to address the criminal diversion of PSE to the illegal production of meth. Nationwide, there are laws in place that limit and restrict the sale of pseudoephedrine by pharmacies. All pseudoephedrine containing products must be secured and sold from behind a sales counter.

Daily purchase limits of 3.6 grams (approximately a 15-day supply) per day and 9 grams per 30-day period. To purchase you must present a government–issued identification and sign a logbook, usually electronic, which can be accessible by law enforcement at any time. This is done to prevent any diversion or misuse of the medication. Since the Act passed, meth labs declined nationally by more than 65 percent from their peak in 2004.6

The downside to limiting the sale of pseudoephedrine is the direct impact it may have on patients as the medications are effective for cold and flu symptoms and reduce unnecessary and costly visits to the doctor. Some states, like Oregon, for example, require a prescription from a doctor for the medication in efforts to control the patients who purchase the product.7

Should You Take Sudafed?

Pseudoephedrine is a safe and effective treatment for allergy, cold and flu symptoms. Restrictions have been placed on the purchase of pseudoephedrine, requiring small supplies to be purchased and government-issued ID to be required. Some patients may have an increased risk of side effects when taking pseudoephedrine so it’s important to speak with your doctor or pharmacist prior to beginning this new medication. To find out your state’s rules and regulations visit: https://www.nacds.org/pse/.

References: 

  1. https://www.chpa.org/Meth.aspx
  2. http://online.lexi.com.www2.lib.ku.edu/lco/action/doc/retrieve/docid/patch_f/7583?cesid=193IW7YguaV&searchUrl=%2Flco%2Faction%2Fsearch%3Fq%3Dpseudoephedrine%26t%3Dname%26va%3Dpseudop#coi
  3. https://www.fda.gov/drugs/information-drug-class/legal-requirements-sale-and-purchase-drug-products-containing-pseudoephedrine-ephedrine-and
  4. https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/meth/
  5. https://www.cdc.gov/phlp/docs/pseudo-brief112013.pdf
  6. https://www.gao.gov/assets/660/651709.pdf
  7. https://www.nacds.org/pse/

Prescription options for allergy meds - scriptsave wellrx

by Marcus Harding
PharmD Candidate Class of 2019, University of Arizona

Seasonal allergies affect anywhere between 10-30% of people worldwide.1 Allergies to one or more common allergens are reaching upwards of 40-50% in school children.1 Allergies occur due to an immune response to something the body considers “foreign,” in other words, strange or unfamiliar. When in contact with the “allergen,” the body produces antibodies which release a chemical called histamine. Histamine and some other chemicals are what cause allergic reactions.1,3

Symptoms of a seasonal allergic response include but are not limited to:3

  • Sneezing and a runny nose
  • Itchy nose and throat
  • Itchy, watery eyes

Symptoms of a more severe allergic response include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Rash
  • Welts
  • Swelling of mucous membranes

What to Do

When seasonal allergic symptoms occur, you should talk to your primary healthcare provider for help. While your physician can prescribe medications to minimize these symptoms, it is rare that they would be covered by your insurance. This is because most of the medications used for allergies are “over-the-counter” (OTC) medications. This means these medications can be purchased without a prescription, and can be easily found at your local drug store. If you are expecting a medication to be covered by your insurance, but find that it is not, there are options for you. Despite these medications being OTC, they can still be rather expensive, and if you need the medication consistently, the cost can add up. So, what are your options when it comes to these medications if your insurance won’t cover them?

There are many resources available to help you find the best price for OTC medications. The ScriptSave® WellRx app is free and can help you find the best price based on your location. If your physician writes a prescription for an OTC medication, you can use the ScriptSave WellRx app or discount card to get savings on that drug. You can visit www.WellRx.com to download a free card and find the cheapest cash price at a nearby pharmacy.

Lastly, your local pharmacist is a great resource when it comes to cost savings. They are a wealth of knowledge as it pertains to medication information and cost, and if they do not know the answer, they will know where and how to find the answer.

Allergy Medication Options

So now that you have the resources to find the best price, how can you decide which medication to choose? There are so many different types of medications for seasonal allergies, it is hard to know which is the best for you.

Antihistamines are the most common type of medication used for seasonal allergies.1 These are divided into two types, which are the first and second-generation antihistamines. The first-generation antihistamines are more likely to cause drowsiness and sedation compared to the second generation.2 The OTC first-generation antihistamines include:

The OTC second-generation antihistamines include

Second-generation antihistamines are not only less sedating, but also last longer, and are most often only needed once a day, whereas first-generation anti-histamines may need to be taken multiple times a day. All of these examples can be found as tablets, capsules, or suspensions.2

Some common side effects to look out for are:2

  • Dizziness/drowsiness (more common in first-generation)
  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Confusion

Another type of medication that can be used for seasonal allergies is nasal decongestants.1 These medications help to shrink the blood vessels in your nose to reduce the amount of leaking from your nose. These medications result in rapid relief of nasal congestion; however, they are only recommended for 3-5 days of use. Using these medications any longer than the recommendation can cause “rebound congestion,” basically making your symptoms worse. There are several different forms of these medications including topical, oral tablets and nasal sprays.4

Some of the side effects of these medications include:4

  • Rapid and irregular heartbeat
  • irritability
  • nasal dryness
  • high blood pressure
  • difficulty sleeping
  • loss of appetite
  • urinary retention
  • dizziness

Keep in mind that there are daily and monthly limits to the amount of Sudafed you can purchase based on state laws. Although these medications can act rapidly and help with symptoms right away, they should not be used for more than 5 days at a time.4

One last common type of OTC medication used for seasonal allergies is nasal corticosteroids1. These medications act to slow down the body’s immune response to the allergen, reducing the amount of inflammation. Although there are corticosteroids that work for the whole body, these are nasal sprays that are directed to the nose to help with symptoms that occur locally or in the general area, therefore, there are very few of the normal side effects of steroids because the medication is specifically targeted to the nose. Most of the side effects that can happen are in the nose/throat area, although they are not very common.4

The current nasal corticosteroids include:

The side effects of these medications can include:4

  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Cough
  • Nose bleeds
  • Congestion
  • Throat swelling/irritation
  • Upper respiratory infection.

There are many options for treating your allergies with over the counter medications, including medications that are not antihistamines. If your doctor prescribes a medication and it is not covered by insurance, talk to your pharmacist about OTC alternatives and use the resources available to you to find the best price. That way you can treat your symptoms, feel better, and keep more money in your pocket.

 

References

  1. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. (2018). AAAA. Retrieved from http://www.aaaai.org/. Accessed on 5/16/2018.
  2. Carson S, Lee N, Thakurta S. Drug Class Review: Newer Antihistamines: Final Report Update 2 [Internet]. Portland (OR): Oregon Health & Science University; 2010 May. Introduction. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK50554/
  3. Jeffrey L. Kishiyama, M. (2014). Pathophysiology of Disease: An Introduction to Clinical Medicine, 7e. Gary D. Hammer, MD, PhD, Stephen J. McPhee, MD.
  4. Platt, Michael. International Forum of Allergy & Rhinology. Sep2014 Supplement, Vol. 4, pS35-S40. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25182353

If you’re struggling to afford your medications,
visit www.WellRx.com to compare the cash price at pharmacies near you.
You may find prices lower than your insurance co-pay!

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