Daily Antihistamine - Prescription or OTC?

Posted on: Mon, 04/16/2001 - 1:26pm
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

pMany people have mentioned either taking a daily antihistamine for environmental allergies, or giving one to their child./p
pCayley tested 2+ for birch trees and 1+ for maple trees, and she has started making weird throat noises, like a low gurgling. She tells me her throat is always itchy, so we started her on Claritin, since tree pollen is kicking into high gear./p
pShould we have her on prescription-strength Claritin, or is over-the-counter strong enough? It really seems to be helping, but I'm just looking for some feedback on what the rest of you take/give your child. What do your allergists usually recommend? Thanks everyone./p

Posted on: Mon, 04/16/2001 - 1:45pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Cayley's Mom, I'm not going to be much help because I haven't actually consulted my family doctor or allergist about either my use of antihistamine or Jesse's.
When I was a child I got allergy shots. Then, it seemed for a point in my life that my allergies didn't trouble me at all. In my mid-twenties I went to have my allergies tested again and allergy shots were again recommended. I did them for a very short period of time. I ended up with a severe migraine the day after my allergy shot and since I was dealing with them regularly already, I felt that I didn't need to do something that would trigger another migraine. I chose to take an antihistamine.
I am taking generic Chlortripolon which is in the older antihistamines, but it is very inexpensive and does control my allergies to some degree. I also have to use a nasal spray sometimes (prescribed by my family doctor) and a decongestant. This just all depends on how bad they decide to get. My family doctors have always just known that I control my environmental allergies with an antihistamine and that I am comfortable doing so this way.
Jesse began taking a daily antihistamine when he was about 2-1/2, when we moved to this area and it was quite obvious that he had environmental allergies (pollen, grass, etc.). At that age, the effects of his allergies would make him quite cranky. I chose Benadryl. I am not clear why. Then, when he was about to start school, and also recognizing that you can build up your tolerance to any type of medication, I spoke with the local pharmacist and asked him about Claritin. I wanted to make sure that they didn't add anything to the formulation to make it "non-drowsy", which they don't. The pharmacist really felt that since Jesse was starting school it would be better for him to take Claritin (or now there's kids' Reactine, which he's actually taking this month because the drug store didn't have the kids' Claritin in) so he wouldn't have the possible drowsy side effect of Benadryl.
I did see a pedaetrician shortly after Jesse started taking the daily antihistamine and he seemed quite comfortable with my decision. He examined Jesse's nose and could tell that he had environmental allergies by the way the inside of his nose looked.
When we saw the allergist at the end of October, he did prescribe a different antihistamine for Jesse but I haven't checked it out yet (I know, BAD MOMMY). I have just felt that the Claritin really did it's job.
I also like the fact that it is a once a day dose and also that it is separate from the recommended antihistamine for anaphylactic reactions.
Despite the advice that you may get here, do you think it's possible to ask your pharmacist your question? I do know that I have had the same antihistamine I am taking prescribed to me when I had an all encompassing drug plan. I really don't believe there is much difference. I do know that for myself, I would like to be taking one of the newer, once a day antihistamines myself but they are quite costly to the $3.00 I pay for 100 of my oldies.
Now, if you do have a good drug plan, you may want to see if antihistamines are covered under the drug plan and have Cayley's antihistamine prescribed regardless. The one I had several years ago was exceptional - it covered my antihistamines and decongestants even though they were right on the shelf.
Also, because the Claritin seems to control Jesse's environmental allergies so well, I don't think I would ever consider allergy shots for him.
I hope this helped a bit.
Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
------------------

Posted on: Mon, 04/16/2001 - 10:46pm
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Anonymous (not verified)

I went to the allergist last year for myself because I was frustrated with the itchy throat (I would use a toothbrush to scratch the back of my mouth), watery burning eyes, constant headaches, and sneezing 30 times in a row (my hubby would be mad because it would wake him up in the morning). I tested 4++ to 8 grasses, 5 trees, 3 weeds, and 2 molds. The allergist asked me how I ever made it to be my age without seeing the allergist? The OTC antihistamines did not help me alot..they just made me drowsy. Of course, here in the USA we can not get Claritan OTC. He prescribed Allegra for me and it is working great. I can still tell me allergies are in full force because I start feeling the symptoms as the medicine wears off. My son is on Zyrtec and it definately helps him even though he is still sneezing and waking up (most of the time he keeps them all day) with red, swollen, puffy eyes.

Posted on: Tue, 04/17/2001 - 1:57am
sillyfeline's picture
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Joined: 03/28/2001 - 09:00

One important thing to remember: prescription vs. OTC says nothing about strength or safety; it's a legality. Many prescription antihistimines provide safe, reliable relief (I took seldane until it was discontinued; now on allegra, which is good, but not as good). Benadryl is still the strongest antihistimine available (if you don't mind being asleep). Don't let the prescription issue rattle you; remember ibuprophen was a prescription med 15 yrs ago. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]

Posted on: Tue, 04/17/2001 - 2:45am
macer's picture
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Joined: 01/07/2001 - 09:00

I take allegra daily all year round and my son takes zyrtec at night so he is not effected by the drowsiness and he seems fine during the day(it is a 24hr pill).

Posted on: Tue, 04/17/2001 - 3:31am
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DMB
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Joined: 02/22/2001 - 09:00

Carolyn,
Evan is on Claritin that was prescribed by his pediatrician. He will take it daily in the spring and fall.
Deanna

Posted on: Tue, 04/17/2001 - 8:59am
Going Nuts's picture
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Joined: 10/04/2001 - 09:00

Carolyn,
Kevin and Louie are both on Claritin (10 mg reditabs), which is only available by prescription here. I must say that while it has really helped them in the past, this year it isn't doing much good. Put it this way, if it is helping, I'd hate to see what they would be like without it! Actually, my Allegra isn't doing much either. I guess we're in for a heck of a season! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/rolleyes.gif[/img]
Amy

Posted on: Tue, 04/17/2001 - 9:06am
sillyfeline's picture
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Joined: 03/28/2001 - 09:00

If those antihistimines aren't working, perhaps you should consider trying another brand. Different people respond differently to different antihistimines (and sometimes even to the same antihistimine different years).

Posted on: Tue, 04/17/2001 - 9:45am
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Thanks everyone for your input!
sillyfeline - that's exactly what my husband does. When he finds his "Reactine" or whatever stops working, he'll switch brands. It's true that a tolerance is sometimes built up over time. This year he's on Allegra. Every year he's miserable no matter what he takes, so this year it's Allergra's turn to take heaps of abuse... [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img] Also, I remember having ibuprofen prescribed 8 1/2 years ago for a bad sprain. Isn't it strange how different countries treat the same medication (ibuprofen is OTC now in Canada, but it wasn't 8 years ago)?
Well, since we started Cayley on the Claritin (about 7 days ago) she has stopped making the funny throat sounds, so I guess we'll just keep doing what we're doing.
Amy - have your boys ever been on Zyrtec?
Deanna - what is the strength of your Claritin? My OTC Claritin says 'loratidine 1 mg/mL'. Just curious if the 'script and the OTC are the same strength.
Cindy - what was the name of the different antihistamine Jesse was prescribed? I don't even know which brands are 'script only here.
Naomi - what is the strength of your Allegra? My husband's OTC Allegra is 'fexofenadine hydrochloride 60 mg' per dose. Also, did you know one of the ingredients is 'lactose'? Not that you'll be giving any to your son, but I was glad to see a complete list of non-medicinal ingredients on the box of Allegra.
Thanks again everyone. I agree, s.f., about not getting too hung up on the fact that prescribed drugs may or may not be better than OTC, but I am very curious about the different strengths.

Posted on: Tue, 04/17/2001 - 11:07am
sillyfeline's picture
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Joined: 03/28/2001 - 09:00

In the US, all Allegra is OTC. The 12hr is 60mg, the 24hr is 180mg. I'm not sure about the Allegra-D.

Posted on: Tue, 04/17/2001 - 11:08am
sillyfeline's picture
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Joined: 03/28/2001 - 09:00

EEK! I make mistakes when I'm tired... All Allegra is PRESCRIPTION here! Sorry.

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