Friday, January 28, 2011

The FDA approved Sanofi-Aventis to begin sales of Allegra, currently a prescription antihistamine allergy medication, to be sold over the counter (OTC) as of March 2011. On the market for approximately 15 years, Allegra has been fighting off generic copycat medications since its patent protection expired in 2001. Designation as an OTC medication means that Allegra has been able to prove that Allegra can be used safely without professional supervision.

Remember, when taking allergy medications, that you should:
  • Pay careful attention to package label instructions for use, side effects, and when you should call the doctor.
  • Ask the pharmacist about specific questions such as possible interactions with other medications or foods.
  • Follow label instructions exactly as indicated. Increasing dosages does not provide additional benefits. It merely increases the risks of side effects.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, approximately 40 million Americans fight chronic allergies due to grass, trees, weed pollen, mold spores, dust mites, cat, dog and rodent dander, and cockroach droppings. Allergy symptoms manifest as a result. These typically include coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose and scratchy throat.

Clarinex, Xyzal and Astelin are some of the more commonly prescribed allergy medications in addition to Allegra. Allegra will be facing competition from OTC antihistamines including Benadryl, Claritin and Zyrtec.

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