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Is Allegra a Good Antihistamine for Allergies?

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Updated April 09, 2014

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Question: Is Allegra a Good Antihistamine for Allergies?
Answer: Definitely. Allegra (fexofenadine) is a newer generation antihistamine approved for the treatment of allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and urticaria (hives) for adults and children 6 months of age and older. Allegra is currently only available by prescription, but is expected to be available over the counter without a prescription by spring of 2011.

Allegra is available in brand name and generic (as fexofenadine) forms, and comes in tablets, liquid, and oral disintegrating tablets. The dosage of Allegra is 15 milligrams twice a day for children 6 months to 2 years of age, 30 milligrams twice a day for 2 to 11 years of age, and 60 milligrams twice a day (or 180 milligrams once a day) for ages 12 years and older. Studies don't support higher dosages for the treatment of hay fever, but higher doages may be helpful for certain people with hives.

Allegra starts to work within an hour, so taking Allegra on an as-needed basis can be effective for the treatment of hay fever and hives. Taking Allegra on a daily basis may result in better control of allergy symptoms, however. Studies show that Allegra is nearly as good as Zyrtec at treating hay fever, although Zyrtec appears to be a better medicine for the treatment of hives.

Allegra is very well-tolerated and has a low occurrence of side effects. The most common side effect is headache, which has been reported to occur in approximately 10% of people taking Allegra, and about 7% of people taking placebo in the same study. Unlike many other antihistamines, Allegra has not been shown to cause a significant amount of sedation or fatigue when compared to placebo.

Allegra has a pregnancy category 'C' rating -- meaning that there are safer medications that can be used during pregnancy, including Claritin and Zyrtec.

Learn everything you’ve ever wanted to know about antihistamines.

Sources:

Allegra package insert. Sanofi Aventis Corporation. Website accessed December 31, 2010.

Day J, et al. Allergy and Asthma Proc. 2005;26:275-82.

Day J, et al. Allergy and Asthma Proc. 2004;25:59-68.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this site is for educational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for personal care by a licensed physician. Please see your physician for diagnosis and treatment of any concerning symptoms or medical condition.

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