Guest post contributed by Kimberly Houser, PharmD
As we finally start to see the flowers blossom and the grass growing, many people get excited at the first signs of spring. People with seasonal allergies may have other things on their mind, such as their allergy symptoms! There are many Over-the-Counter (OTC) options available to patients with allergies to help with their symptoms. So many in fact this section can be confusing and overwhelming.
Patients with allergies have symptoms of allergic rhinitis. This is described as sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, or nasal congestion.1 You can choose from a variety of products that include eye drops, nasal sprays and oral antihistamines.
There are currently three oral antihistamines available Over-the-Counter. These medications are indicated to treat moderate allergic rhinitis and specifically help with sneezing, runny nose, or itchy eyes.1 The big three are: Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra.
So which one do you choose? Here are some things to keep in mind. Claritin and Zyrtec have generic formulations: loratadine and cetirizine, so they will be less expensive. Zyrtec has a warning that it may cause drowsiness so it is best to take at night. Zyrtec may also work a little faster than its competitors so if you need relief right away, it is a great option.2 Allegra is the new OTC product and has a warning that it may interact with grapefruit juice.
Use this information to decide which is right for you. As always, ask your Price Chopper Pharmacist for help!
- Drug Treatments for Allergic Rhinitis. Pharmacist’s Letter/Prescriber’s Letter 2006;22(4):220414.
- Comparison of antihistamines. Pharmacist’s Letter/Prescriber’s Letter 2008;24(7):240707.