Anyone who deals with allergies knows that the struggle is real. Even if you try to limit your exposure to triggers (whether you have outdoor allergies from things like pollen and ragweed or indoor allergies from dust or pets), symptoms like a runny nose, itchy and watery eyes, and congestion can still come on strong and ruin your day. Luckily, over-the-counter allergy medications, or antihistamines, can dramatically reduce these dreaded symptoms. And while many people assume they have to spend a lot on OTC meds to find relief, there are actually plenty of affordable alternatives available.
One such budget-friendly option is Amazon Basic Care’s All Day Allergy Pills ($16; amazon.com), a 24-hour antihistamine that uses the active ingredient cetirizine hydrochloride (which you may recognize by the name Zyrtec). More than 8,000 Amazon shoppers left a perfect 5-star rating for the pills, which cost just $16 for a bottle of 300 24-hour pills—nearly 9 times cheaper than its name-brand counterparts (yes, really). According to Kari Nadeau, MD, director of the Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy and Asthma Research at Stanford University, the pills—cetirizine hydrochloride tablets—are comparable to Zyrtec and safe to use.
Reenal Patel, MD, founder of Allergy MD in Long Island City, New York, said she often recommends that her patients try generic antihistamines instead of name brands in order to save money without sacrificing quality. Because there are different kinds of antihistamines—including cetirizine hydrochloride (Zyrtec), diphenhydramine (Benadryl), loratadine (Claritin), and fexofenadine (Allegra)—she advises that allergy sufferers speak to their doctors before use to consider potential side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, and dry skin. Their physician can also help them determine the best plan of action: "what time of day to take the medication, if they need to take the medication daily or as needed, or which specific brand may work best for their symptoms," Dr. Patel tells Health. "We also want to ensure the antihistamines do not counteract with other medications they may be taking."
Amazon Basic Care’s All Day Allergy medication promises 24 hours of relief from common allergy symptoms that may be caused by dust, flowers, trees, or pets, and thousands of satisfied shoppers have confirmed its effectiveness: “My eyes were watery, itchy, sinus a mess, within two days of taking this med I was back to myself,” wrote one reviewer.
Another chimed in, noting the value of Amazon’s allergy pill option. “I’ve recently been diagnosed with a severe dust mite allergy, itching from head to toe, breaking out in hives, and scratching my skin raw. My doctor recommended a daily Zyrtec, but that's awfully expensive,” they wrote. “This is a one a day, all day off-brand Zyrtec. It contains over 300 pills. So for basically 15 bucks, I am covered for almost a full year. This medicine works wonders; I only break out if I forget to take it for a day or two.”
Because Amazon Basic Care’s All Day Allergy pills include corn starch as an inactive ingredient, they’re not suitable for anyone with a corn allergy. It also contains lactose monohydrate, a common filler, so if you’re lactose intolerant, consult with your doctor before taking this medication.
Compared to other generic and name-brand options, shoppers say that the quality of this medication is just as good, and the savings are unbeatable. “Only name-brand allergy medication ever worked for me but this is the ticket right here,” one person wrote, adding that they get “300 pills for a fraction of the price.”
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