Allegra is the brand name for the medication fexofenadine. It is an antihistamine medication that helps with the symptoms of allergies. Fexofenadine is a second-generation antihistamine, which is less likely to cause drowsiness than some of the earlier antihistamines (first-generation). It is used to help with managing the symptoms of hay fever allergies, year-round allergies, and itchy skin rashes and hives. Antihistamines don’t cure these conditions but can often provide much needed relief from the unpleasant symptoms.
Fexofenadine is available to purchase over–the–counter for the relief of symptoms associated with seasonal allergic rhinitis in adults and children aged 2 years and over. Different strengths and dosage forms are currently available.
Fexofenadine can be taken by adults under the age of 65 and children aged 2 years and over. It isn't recommended for people over 65 years old as there isn't much research on the medication in this age group.
It isn't normally recommended during pregnancy or breastfeeding. A similar antihistamine called loratadine is normally used first because there's more information to say that it's safe. You should talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits if you are considering taking fexofenadine while pregnant or breastfeeding.
Like all medications, don’t take them if you previously had an allergic reaction to the medication, if you have severe kidney or liver problems, or if you have other medications or medical conditions where you would normally discuss it with your doctor or pharmacist before starting something new.
If you're taking low-dose (30 mg) fexofenadine, you can take it with or without food. If you're taking higher doses (120 mg and 180 mg), take it before a meal. Always take your fexofenadine with a drink of water. Swallow tablets whole and do not chew them.
Fexofenadine may be less effective if taken with orange or apple juice, this is due to substances in these fruit juices blocking the gut from absorbing the medication into the body. We would advise avoiding drinking fruit juice within the 4 hours before or 2 hours after taking fexofenadine.
Like all medicines, fexofenadine can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them. Common side effects include feeling sick, drowsiness, headaches, dry mouth or symptoms of feeling dizzy. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if these side effects bother you or don't go away.
It's rare to have a serious side effect with fexofenadine but call a doctor right away if you get a fast or irregular heartbeat.
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