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Before You Buy Allegra

By

Updated January 23, 2013

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

Allegra is an over-the-counter allergy medication used to treat seasonal allergy symptoms. In 2011, it transitioned from being available by prescription only to being available over the counter and without a prescription. In addition, it is now available in generic form.

Active Ingredient

Fexofenadine is the active ingredient in the brand-name medication Allegra. Many store brands and other companies are now able to offer generic fexofenadine.

Dosing Information

Several forms of Allegra are available.

Allegra 24-hr is a 180mg tablet taken once a day.

Allegra 12-hr is a 60mg tablet taken twice a day.

Which one you choose is a personal decision. You may find that taking Allegra 12-hr works better for you because it gets the medication into your system two times a day. The 24-hr option may be better for you because you only have to take it once a day. Neither one is right for everyone, you just have to figure out which option is better for you.

Allegra D contains both fexofenadine and pseudoephedrine (a decongestant). Allegra D fights both sneezing/runny nose and congestion. The "D" stands for decongestant, which will help relieve sinus congestion.

Children's Allegra is available for children ages 2 to 12 years old.

  • Oral Suspension: Adults and Children 12 years and older - 2 teaspoons every 12 hours
    Children Ages 2 to 12 years old - 1 teaspoon every 12 hours
    Children Under Age 2 - Ask a Doctor
  • Children's ODT (Melt-away Tablet): Adults and Children 12 years and older - 2 tablets every 12 hours
    Children 6 to 12 years old - 1 tablet every 12 hours
    Children under 6 years old - Do not use
  • Children's Tablets: Adults and Children 12 years and older - 2 (30mg) tablets every 12 hours
    Children 6 to 12 years old - 1 (30mg) tablet every 12 hours
    Children under 6 years old - Do not use

Allegra should not be taken at the same time as fruit juices or antacids that contain aluminum or magnesium.

How It Works

Allegra is an antihistamine that stops the effects of histamine in the body. Histamine is what causes allergy symptoms when a person is exposed to an allergen. Unlike some other antihistamines, Allegra does not cause drowsiness.

Allegra should be taken on an empty stomach with a full glass of water. Taking it with fruit juice could make it less effective.

Side Effects

Side effects of Allegra may include:

  • Nausea or Stomach Pain
  • Headache
  • Dry Mouth
  • Sore Throat
  • Heartburn
  • Back Pain
  • Pale Skin

Certain serious side effects should not be ignored. If you experience any of the following, contact your health care provider right away.

  • Difficulty Breathing or Swallowing
  • Dizziness or Fainting
  • Weakness
  • Hives, Rash or Itching
  • Fast or Irregular Heartbeat
  • Painful or Difficulty Urinating
  • Seizure
  • Difficulty Sleeping
  • Hallucinating
  • Uncontrollable Shaking
  • Unexplained Swelling of any Part of the Body
  • Fear or Anxiety

Who Shouldn't Take Allegra

Certain people should not take Allegra. Do not take it if you are allergic to any of the ingredients in Allegra.

If you have certain conditions, there may be risks involved with taking Allegra. Talk to your health care provider before you take it if you:

  • Are Pregnant or Breastfeeding
  • Have Kidney Disease
  • Are Over the Age of 65

What You Need to Know

Like all antihistamines, Allegra will work better for some people than others. If you suffer from seasonal allergy symptoms, you may want to talk to your health care provider about trying Allegra. Typically, you will need to take any allergy medication for 2 to 4 weeks before you can determine how well it works for you.

Allegra should not be taken when you are taking other antihistamines such as Benadryl, Claritin or Zyrtec unless recommended by your health care provider.

If you have questions about Allegra and whether or not it is right for you or your children, consult your health care provider.

Sources:

"Fexofenadine and Pseudoephedrine." Drugs and Supplements 1 Aug 10. PubMed Health. US National Library of Medicine. 26 Sep 11.

"Allegra" Chattem 2011. Sanofi Pasteur. 26 Sep 11.

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