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Zyrtec Goes Over-The-Counter

January 29, 2008, 5:57 PM by Jaine Andrews

Zyrtec Goes Over-The-Counter
Are you allergic to anything? Cats? Dogs? Maybe seafood? 

You can avoid many of those things and also avoid the runny nose, watery eyes and scratchy throat.
But for some people an antihistamine is a daily necessity to avoid all those things. And one of the most popular ones just became easier to get. 

The antihistamine is Zyrtec, and it's decongestant cousin, Zyrtec-D. And up until now, they’ve been a third-tier drug on most insurance prescription plans, which means you've been forking over around forty dollars--at least-- for a month's supply. So what's it going to cost you now that it's gone over-the-counter? It's a common question these days. 

At one point, the antihistamine Zyrtec was among the top ten most-commonly prescribed drugs in KELOLAND. 

Bill Ladwig, vice president of pharmaceutical services at Lewis Drug says, “Zyrtec is a very effective medication. The most potent antihistamine that we use for treating allergies." 

It's was also an expensive drug--even with an insurance plan picking up part of the bill. 

Ladwig says, "It was 75, 80 dollars for a prescription product. And it was considered to be a medication that kind of--it was symptomatic relief, therefore they could raise it to a higher tier." 

Suddenly, however, there's no appointment, no prescription and no pill counting standing in the way of you and your allergy relief. 

Ladwig says, "This is the same thing that happened to Claritin." 

Only now that this prescription pill is over-the-counter, its price is suddenly a real bargain, at around $20 a month. 

Ladwig says, "It will be 15-dollars a month shortly. So the price has dropped dramatically. Same product. Works as well." 

And it may work differently for you than Claritin. 

Ladwig says, "Whether Claritin or Zyrtec is your favorite antihistamine depends on you. And that's something that some antihistamines wear out in time. Some may work better for one person than the other." 

However there is one caveat when choosing between the two over-the-counter antihistamines. 

Ladwig says, "Take the Zyrtec at bedtime. It's more potent than Claritin, but it causes a little more sedation, too." 

There could also be a cost savings in over-the-counter Zyrtec in that you won't need a visit to the doctor to get a prescription, though some say that if you need an antihistamine on a daily basis, it's probably a good idea to see your doctor at least on an annual basis.

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