fexofenadine, Allegra, Allegra Allergy, Allegra Hives, Children's Allegra, Mucinex Allergy

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

What is fexofenadine, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Fexofenadine is an oral, "second generation" antihistamine that is used to treat the signs and symptoms of allergy and hives. It is similar to the other second generation antihistamines loratadine (Claritin), cetirizine (Zyrtec) and azelastine (Astelin).

Histamine is a chemical that is responsible for many of the signs and symptoms of allergic reactions, for example, swelling of the lining of the nose, sneezing, and itchy eyes. Histamine is released from histamine-storing cells (mast cells) and then attaches to other cells that have receptors for histamine. The attachment of the histamine to the receptors causes the cells to be "activated," releasing other chemicals that produce the effects that we associate with allergy (for example, sneezing). Fexofenadine blocks one type of receptor for histamine (the H1 receptor) and thus prevents activation of H1 receptor-containing cells by histamine. Unlike the first generation antihistamines, fexofenadine and other second-generation antihistamines do not readily enter the brain from the blood. Therefore, they cause less drowsiness and are called non-sedating antihistamines. Fexofenadine was approved by the FDA in July 1995.

What brand names are available for fexofenadine?

Allegra, Allegra Allergy, Children's Allegra, Allergy 24-HR, Mucinex Allergy

Is fexofenadine available as a generic drug?

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes

Do I need a prescription for fexofenadine?

No, yes (suspension)

What are the uses for fexofenadine?

Fexofenadine is used for the treatment of seasonal allergies in patients 2 years of age and older and chronic urticaria (hives, itching) in patients 6 months of age and older.

What are the side effects of fexofenadine?

The most common side effects of fexofenadine are:

Other important side effects include:

  • fever,
  • muscle aches,
  • back pain,
  • cough,
  • allergic reactions, and
  • pain in the limbs.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/1/2016

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