October 2, 2018

Is It Safe to Use Generic Allergy Drugs?

Healthcare in general is getting more and more expensive, and allergy treatment is not an exception. As the prices on allergy meds keep rising, more people with allergies are wondering whether they should switch to generics, which typically come at a lower cost. The good news is that nowadays, there are many generic allergy drugs available on the market.

 

Generic forms of a medication appear on the market, when a brand name form loses its patent. Remember that generic drugs are different from over-the-counter medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

You can find generic forms of many over-the-counter allergy meds, such as Claritin or Zyrtec. However, certain medications (e.g. Allegra) are still available only in a brand name version.

What Should You Know About Generic Antihistamines?

 

Levocetirizine is a currently available generic form of a brand name medication Xyzal. It is the only generic medication that belongs to the class of newer generation prescription antihistamines.

Using the generic form, instead of Xyzal, allows to save up to 10% in cost. According to Drugs.com, the price on generic levocetirizine is around $16 per 30 oral tablets, while the price on Xyzal is $15 per 10 tablets.

Which Generic Nasal Sprays Are There?

 

According to the website of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, as of May 2018, there are six generic allergy nasal sprays available on the market. Generic nasal sprays include an antihistamine spray azelastine (marketed as Astelin), nasal steroids like fluticasone propionate (brand name Flonase) and flunisolide (Nasarel), as well as anticholinergic drug called ipratropium bromide (Atrovent), decongestant oxymetazoline (Afrin), and mast cell inhibitor known as cromolyn sodium (Nasalcrom Nasal).

At the moment, azelastine is the only allergy nasal spray that also comes in a generic form. However, the generic version is still only available by prescription. Using the generic azelastine can help to save up to 20 percent in monthly expenses. A 30ml supply of brand name Astelin is $2 more expensive than the same quantity of azelastine generic.

The cost of using generic forms of allergy nasal spray can be significantly lower, especially in the long term. Thus, the prices on generic fluticasone were found to be nearly 30% lower that the prices of the brand name version.

Is It Safe to Use Generic Allergy Eye Drops?

 

These days, you can find many over-the-counter allergy eye-drops, but there are no generic eye-drops available over the counter yet. OTC drops like Zaditor or Alaway still come only in a brand name version.

When it comes to prescription allergy eye-drops, the only generic drop is azelastine (which ha a brand name version called Optivar). Just like with other generic drugs, using generic azelastine can help to reduce the expenses, if you are using prescription medication.

However, if your symptoms improve with an OTC allergy medication, sticking to an over-the-counter option will be cheaper than getting a prescription treatment (generic or not).

Besides, remember that using a medicated eye-drop is not the only treatment. You can reduce the symptoms like itchy eyes trying different methods, such as placing cold compresses, using artificial tears, as well as taking oral or nasal meds.

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