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Which Allergy Medicines are Available in Generic Form?

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Updated May 04, 2011

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Question: Which Allergy Medicines are Available in Generic Form?
Answer: As the cost of healthcare continues to rise, my patients frequently ask me about generic allergy medicines. Fortunately, there are a number of allergy medicines that have recently become available in generic form -– which typically translates into a lower cost.

When a medication loses its patent, other companies are free to market the medication in a generic form. This is different than a medication being approved by the Food and Drug Administration for over-the-counter (OTC) use.

While many OTC allergy medicines are available in generic versions, including Zyrtec and Claritin, others are still only available in brand name form (such as Allegra).

Generic Antihistamines

The only newer generation prescription antihistamine that is currently available in generic form is levocetirizine (brand name Xyzal). Generic levocetirizine is priced on Drugstore.com for $89.99 for a 1-month supply, compared to brand name Xyzal, which is $99.59 for a 1-month supply. Using the generic medication results in a nearly 10% savings in cost.

Learn more about the use of antihistamines for the treatment of allergies.

Generic Allergy Nasal Sprays

As of the date of the writing of this article, there are three generic allergy nasal sprays available, all by prescription only. These include fluticasone propionate (brand name Flonase), flunisolide (brand name Nasarel), and azelastine (brand name Astelin). Fluticasone and flunisolide are nasal steroid sprays, while azelastine is a nasal antihistamine spray. Nasacort AQ, another nasal steroid spray, is due to be available in generic form in June 2011.

According to Drugstore.com, the cost of generic fluticasone is $59.99 for a 1-month supply, compared to brand name Flonase, which is $85.98 for a 1-month supply. Using the generic fluticasone results in a savings of 30% over the brand name version. The cost of flunisolide on Drugstore.com is $45.99 for a 1-month supply; the brand name Nasarel is no longer available.

Azelastine is the only generic antihistamine nasal spray available, although still requires a prescription. According to Drugstore.com, the cost of a 1-month supple of azelastine nasal spray is $95.99, while the cost of brand name Astelin is $119.99 for a 1-month supply. Using the generic version results in a cost savings of 20%.

Learn more about the use of nasal sprays for the treatment of allergies.

Generic Allergy Eye Drops

While there are many OTC allergy eye drops available, including Zaditor/Alaway, all of these are currently in brand name version only. The only generic allergy eye drop, azelastine (brand name Optivar), is still a prescription medication. Azelastine eye drops are available on Drugstore.com for $95.99 for a 1-month supply, while brand name Optivar costs $115.99 for a 1-month supply. Buying the generic version saves a person more than 17%.

Learn more about the various ways that itchy eyes can be treated.

The bottom line that I tell my patients: If an OTC allergy medicine works well for you, these will be far cheaper than anything available by prescription, whether it’s generic or not!

Sources:

Drugstore.com. Accessed April 25, 2011.

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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