Allegra (Fexofenadine) goes OTC (over the counter) in early March according to a recent press release by the company that manufactures it. It is expected to be stocked on shelves in your local retail stores and pharmacies by around March 4th.
That is AWESOME news for those of you who use this, and have to pay a lot of money for prescriptions/doctor visits. I assume the price may come down too so they can compete with Zyrtec and Claritin.
I am very eager to try this medication, as it is supposed to be a non-drowsy antihistamine. I get drowsiness from Zyrtec, and also stomach pains. So I am eager to try this one. It seems people on our forum are divided. Some get a bit more relief from Zyrtec, while others get a bit more relief from Allegra. And some only get relief when taking a combination of different antihistamines (talk to a doctor before doing that).
It will certainly be nice knowing that we have more options available in the form of OTC antihistamines.
My Battle Plan with Allegra
Here is what I plan on doing when it comes out in a little over a month from now. I am going to buy the strongest one they have available (180 mg I think). I am going to take 1 and see how that works for me. I estimate it should work well, but probably won’t take all of my symptoms away.
Then, if it doesn’t work as well as I hope, I am going to try Allegra combined with an H2 antihistamine (pepcid or zantac) a few days later. I think you are supposed to wait a few hours before taking an H2, because if you take at the same time it could be a bad interaction.
So I will take an Allegra, wait a few hours, and then take an H2. If that doesn’t work well, I may try taking 2 H2 and 1 Allegra. Then I will see how that works.
And if that doesn’t work, then I may ask a doctor about combining another antihistamine at night, then Allegra and an H2 during the day. But I WILL NOT take this kind of of combo daily.
My ultimate plan is this: I want to find a combination (using the least amount of medication/doses) that knocks out my hives 80-90%, while giving me few (hopefully no) side effects in the process. If I can find a combination that does that, then I will stop taking it immediately. At that point, I will only take it no more than 1 time a week at most, and maybe only ever other week. This way, my body won’t adapt to it easily, and I will minimize any damage to my body from taking antihistamines.
In other words, I will save this combination and only use it when I absolutely need it. That way, I can always have a “get out of hives free” card for important things I may have to do. It would be so nice knowing that anytime I need to, I can take a combination that I know will help tremendously with the hives and have a “somewhat” normal day. Right now, I don’t have one that works that well (maybe just 20-30% relief).
So it would be amazing to me if I had a combination that I could take every week or two, and I knew it would basically stop my hives for the most part. I could be so much more active. I could go on a vacation maybe, mow my yard without hives, exercise, etc. etc. That would be wonderful.
UPDATE: Check out this post for my review of Allegra vs Zyrtec.
Is Allegra Safe? Are Antihistamine Combinations Safe?
No medication is 100% safe. Tylenol isn’t 100% safe. Heck, food itself isn’t even safe. Every year hundreds of people die from eating peanuts, or some other food in which they have a massive allergy attack and die from the shock. I recently read in the local news that a Judge’s wife around my area died from peanut ingestion.
So if food isn’t even safe for everyone, then we know antihistamines and other medications can also be dangerous.
However, antihistamines are “relatively” safe when compared to other medications. Some people have taken them for decades under a doctor’s care, and have had no ill effects. However, there are some factors that could make it potentially unsafe. Are you pregnant or nursing? Do you have other medical conditions? Are you taking other medications that could interact with it? Are you taking a safe dose and following the label & doctors directions? Are you elderly or very young? If so, it could be dangerous and I would definitely talk to a doctor first.
And if you take a combination of them (an H2 and H1), or 2 different kinds, then you ABSOLUTELY should talk to a doctor. I have talked to a doctor about this in the past, which I why I am doing it. However, it may not be safe for you, so please check with your doctor, allergist, or dermatologist first.
As long as you take antihistamines moderately, and follow a doctors orders, they should (for the most part) be okay. But I highly recommend you always talk to a doctor first–especially if you want to try a combination to see how it works. And if you can reduce medications or avoid taking them, then I would certainly do that as much as possible for safety reasons.
But I will definitely post my progress and let everyone know how Allegra works for me, and if I need to try other things.