PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Allergy season is just weeks away.

To block the watery eyes and runny nose, many people reach for an antihistamine. One of the last prescription antihistamines is about to join its non-prescription competition.

There is a trend of prescription allergy medicines going over-the-counter.

“I’ve tried Zyrtec, and I’ve tried a couple of the other ones,” says Mary Lou Parish of Baden. “To me, Claritin D seems to work because I have allergies and it makes me less drowsy.”

She previously had to go to the doctor for her prescriptions.

“I’m trying the Claritin to see if that will help, try it for 90 days,” says Chuck Huff of Conway, who has only taken the drug over-the-counter.

A new one is about to join the pack. Alongside Claritin, Zyrtec, and others, Allegra is coming to a drugstore shelf near you.

“Allegra right now is one of the top prescribed medications for allergies, so the customers should probably take to it very well, and should want to purchase the over-the-counter formulation,” says Med-Fast Pharmacy pharmacist Gino Cordisco.

It’s the same dose as prescription Allegra. Instead of going to the doctor for a prescription, you just go to the drug store.

But the convenience comes at a price.

“Most of the private insurances do not cover over-the-counter medications,” says Cordisco.

And it means more responsibility for the consumer. Now that Allegra is going over the counter, you aren’t always going to have a pharmacist looking over your shoulder to warn you about possible interactions with certain antibiotics, anti-fungals and antacids. When you check out, talk to your pharmacist about any possible drug interactions.

The expected cost will range between $10 and $30, depending on strength and supply size.

Antihistamines can make people drowsy and while this may happen with Allegra, it’s not supposed to.

Allegra got FDA approval to go over-the-counter in January. The product is expected to be in stores on Friday.

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National Institutes Of Health: Allegra
Allegra Official Website

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