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- What is fexofenadine and pseudoephedrine? What is Allegra-D used for?
- What are the side effects of fexofenadine and pseudoephedrine?
- What is the dosage for fexofenadine and pseudoephedrine?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with fexofenadine and pseudoephedrine?
- Is fexofenadine and pseudoephedrine safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about fexofenadine and pseudoephedrine?
What is fexofenadine and pseudoephedrine? What is Allegra-D used for?
Allegra-D is a combination of an antihistamine (fexofenadine) and a decongestant (pseudoephedrine). 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 cell to become "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. Pseudoephedrine causes blood vessels in the nasal passages to narrow (vasoconstrict). Vasoconstriction reduces nasal congestion by preventing fluid from draining from blood vessels into nasal passages. The FDA approved Allegra-D in December 1997.
What brand names are available for fexofenadine and pseudoephedrine?
Is fexofenadine and pseudoephedrine available as a generic drug?
Do I need a prescription for fexofenadine and pseudoephedrine?
What are the side effects of fexofenadine and pseudoephedrine?
Side effects of Allegra-D include stimulation of the nervous system by pseudoephedrine leading to:
- tremor, hallucinations, and
- convulsions (seizures).
Other important side effects include:
What is the dosage for fexofenadine and pseudoephedrine?
Allegra-D usually is taken once or twice daily. The recommended dose is one 60/120 mg tablet twice daily or one 180/240 mg tablet once daily. Persons with kidney disease and elderly persons may only need to take one tablet per day. Allegra-D should be taken without food. It must be used cautiously in patients with heart (coronary artery) disease and angina, and diabetes because of the heart-stimulating effects of pseudoephedrine.
Which drugs or supplements interact with fexofenadine and pseudoephedrine?
Allegra-D should not be taken with monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor drugs such as phenelzine (Nardil) and tranylcypromine (Parnate) because combining pseudoephedrine with MAO inhibitors can lead to dangerous increases in blood pressure and other serious side effects. Aluminum containing antacids (for example, Maalox) reduces the absorption of fexofenadine. Therefore, aluminum containing antacids and fexofenadine should not be administered together. Fruit juices (apple, orange, grapefruit) may reduce the absorption of fexofenadine, andexofenadine should only be administered with water.
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Is fexofenadine and pseudoephedrine safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
Pseudoephedrine causes birth defects in some animal species. Additionally, there have been associations between first trimester exposure to drugs related to pseudoephedrine and fetal malformations, though the malformations have been primarily minor. Thus, Allegra-D should be used in pregnancy only if the physician feels that the potential benefit outweighs the risks. Fexofenadine has not been adequately studied in pregnant women.
Pseudoephedrine is secreted in breast milk. The American Academy of Pediatrics considers pseudoephedrine to be compatible with nursing. Fexofenadine has not been adequately studied in women who are breastfeeding.
What else should I know about fexofenadine and pseudoephedrine?
What preparations of fexofenadine and pseudoephedrine are available?
Tablets (fexofenadine/pseudoephedrine): 60/120 mg, 180/240 mg
How should I keep fexofenadine and pseudoephedrine stored?
Tablets should be stored at room temperature between 15 C - 30 C (59 F - 86 F).
Fexofenadine and pseudoephedrine (Allegra-D) is a medication prescribed for the temporary relief of sneezing, runny nose, and nasal stuffiness from the common cold. Allegra-D is also prescribed for the relief of the symptoms of allergic conditions such as hay fever. Allegra-D may also be prescribed for the use in bronchitis, sore throat, and sinusitis. Side effects, drug interactions, and pregnancy safety should be reviewed prior to taking this medication.
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Related Disease Conditions
Sinus Infection (Sinusitis)
Sinus infection (sinusitis) is caused by allergies, infection, and chemicals or other irritants of sinuses. Signs and symptoms include headache, fever, and facial tenderness, pressure, or pain. Treatments of sinus infections are generally with antibiotics and at times, home remedies.
Chronic Rhinitis and Post-Nasal Drip
Chronic rhinitis (non allergic rhinitis) causes runny nose, sneezing, nasal itching and congestion. Post-nasal drip is drainage of mucus from the sinuses into the throat. Treatment includes over-the-counter (OTC) medications.
Sore throat (throat pain) usually is described as pain or discomfort in the throat area. A sore throat may be caused by bacterial infections, viral infections, toxins, irritants, trauma, or injury to the throat area. Common symptoms of a sore throat include a fever, cough, runny nose, hoarseness, earaches, sneezing, and body aches. Home remedies for a sore throat include warm soothing liquids and throat lozenges. OTC remedies for a sore throat include OTC pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Antibiotics may be necessary for some cases of sore throat.
An allergy refers to a misguided reaction by our immune system in response to bodily contact with certain foreign substances. When these allergens come in contact with the body, it causes the immune system to develop an allergic reaction in people who are allergic to it. It is estimated that 50 million North Americans are affected by allergic conditions. The parts of the body that are prone to react to allergies include the eyes, nose, lungs, skin, and stomach. Common allergic disorders include hay fever, asthma, allergic eyes, allergic eczema, hives, and allergic shock.
The common cold (viral upper respiratory tract infection) is a contagious illness that may be caused by various viruses. Symptoms include a stuffy nose, headache, cough, sore throat, and maybe a fever. Antibiotics have no effect upon the common cold, and there is no evidence that zinc and vitamin C are effective treatments.
Bronchitis is inflammation of the airways in the lung. Acute bronchitis is short in duration (10-20 days) in comparison with chronic bronchitis, which lasts for months to years. Causes of acute bronchitis include viruses and bacteria, which means it can be contagious. Acute bronchitis caused by environmental factors such as pollution or cigarette smoke is not contagious. Common symptoms for acute bronchitis include nasal congestion, cough, headache, sore throat, muscle aches, and fatigue. Acute bronchitis in children also my include runny nose, fever, and chest pain. Treatment for acute bronchitis are OTC pain relievers, cough suppressants (although not recommended in children), and rest. Infrequently antibiotics may be prescribed to treat acute bronchitis.
Eustachian Tube Dysfunction
The Eustachian tube is a membrane lined tube that connects the middle ear space to the back of the nose. Symptoms of Eustachian tube dysfunction or blockage include popping and/or clicking in the ear, and ear fullness and/or pain. Causes of Eustachian tube dysfunction or blockage include allergies, sinus infections, ear infections, and the common cold. Treatment includes home remedies to relieve pain and several maneuvers (swallowing, chewing gum, yawning etc.), which can be done to improve Eustachian tube function. In severe cases surgery may be necessary.
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