Local News

Over-The-Counter Claritin In Local Pharmacies

Posted December 12, 2002 1:51 a.m. EST

— Over-the-counter Claritin is now available in pharmacies. North Raleigh Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy is one of the first pharmacies in the Triangle to sell Claritin.

Pharmacist manager Meredith Kraine said patients like buying the popular allergy medication because it is long lasting and non-drowsy.

"Claritin lasts 24 hours, and it doesn't make you sleepy," Kraine said. "All of the other antihistamines make you sleepy as a side effect."

However, Claritin is expensive. Each pill costs more than $1 and costs about $30 per month. Pharmacists said eliminating the cost of a visit to the doctor probably averages out the cost of Claritin.

Doctors can still prescribe Claritin. But pharmacists said that, depending on the insurance co-payment, it may be cheaper to buy from a pharmacy.

They also said patents will soon expire on several allergy drugs, including Claritin, so the price should drop as cheaper generic drugs arrive.

"When that happens, that would be the most cost effective," said Kraine.

Only a few local pharmacies carry Claritin now, and others are expecting to get more in soon.

Other prescription allergy drugs similar to Claritin have a cheaper co-payment, including Clarinex, which is made by the same company.

Pharmacists said doctors might change a prescription if it is more cost-effective for the patient.