Editor's Note: Angela Neglia is a licensed pharmacist in Georgia. The following are general answers to common questions and are not intended to replace the medical advice of a physician. Questions can be e-mailed to askRPh@hotmail.com or call toll free (877) 373-7850 and leave a message.
Q: Is there an over-the-counter medication similar to Zyrtec or Allegra - any nondrowsy antihistamine? My prescription co-payment is $30 per month, and I was hoping to get it cheaper.
A: Yes, there is Claritin, and it is available as generic loratadine. This is a nondrowsy antihistamine in the same class as Zyrtec and Allegra. Some allergy specialists disagree on its therapeutic benefits.
Claritin is not inexpensive. Even its generic counterparts can be high compared to other nonprescription medicines.
The bottom line is that if your doctor believes you need a prescription for your allergies, you should ask his or her opinion about Claritin.
Q: Why would a woman need Flomax? I thought it was only for prostate problems.
A: Flomax (tamsulosin) is used primarily to treat benign prostatic hypertrophy, a common condition in older men in which the enlargement of the prostate gland causes urinary problems. It is a drug that blocks the nerve receptors that constrict the bladder neck. This makes urine flow more freely, hence its name.
In a woman, this can be effective if she suffers from this type of urinary problem. This drug blocks alpha adrenergic receptors (that control the blood vessels) and also is effective in lowering blood pressure. If the woman also has high blood pressure, Flomax then would be ideal.
If you believe there has been an error, speak with your physician. Handwriting errors have been reported with this drug. In some cases Flomax has been dispensed for Fosamax and vice versa.
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