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Allegra approved for OTC sales
January 26th, 2011
12:42 PM ET

Allegra approved for OTC sales

The nation's best-selling antihistamine, Allegra, was approved Tuesday  by the U.S .Food and Drug Administration for over-the-counter use in adults and children 2  and older.

The allergy medicine, made by the pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Aventis, will hit shelves March 4, just in time for the spring allergy season.

Allegra, also sold generically as fexofenadine, is used to treat allergy symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, itchy, watery eyes and itchy nose and throat that result from indoor or outdoor allergens.  About 50 million Americans suffer from indoor and outdoor allergies in the United States, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

"The FDA approval of over-the-counter Allegra will provide patients with another choice of a non-sedating OTC antihistamine," Dr. Clifford W. Bassett, an allergy specialist at New York University told CNN via email. But he also recommends talking to your doctor about your symptoms. "It is not uncommon to see patients with a variety of nasal and sinus symptoms, but when tested, do not actually have allergies. They may have sinus problems, infection, deviated septum, etc. So it is very useful to have simple in-office allergy tests to confirm indeed you do have seasonal or indoor allergies, so you get the correct treatment for YOUR symptoms."

Drug, grocery, mass merchandiser and club stores will carry the product and individual retailers will control the pricing.

Allegra products available over the counter will include: Allegra 24-Hour and 12-Hour Tablets as well as Allegra-D 24-Hour and 12-Hour Allergy and Congestion Extended Release Tablets for adults and children ages 12 and older, Children's Allegra 12-hour tablets and the 12-Hour Orally Disintegrating Tablets for children ages 6 years and older and Allegra Liquid for children ages 2 years and older.


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