Allevia (fexofenadine ) - New and effective Treatment for Hayfever previously only available on prescription.

Exposure to pollen can cause your body to produce allergic symptoms, called hay fever.

Cells in the linings of your nose and eyes release a chemical called histamine when they come into contact with pollen. Histamine causes inflammation (rhinitis), which produces symptoms such as sneezing and a runny or blocked nose. It also causes red, watery and itchy eyes (allergic conjunctivitis). Fexofenadine, an antihistamine, stops the effects of histamine and this helps to relieve these symptoms.

Urticaria is a condition where an itchy skin rash develops. The rash may be triggered by an allergy or it can be caused by some other factor which may not be known. If the rash lasts for longer than six weeks, it is referred to as chronic urticaria. Fexofenadine is given to ease the symptoms of rash in people with chronic urticaria.

Having been used extensively for over 20 years, the MHRA said that the safety profile of Allevia has been well established, therefore making the product suitable for reclassification to enable purchase over the counter from pharmacies. Symptoms of hay fever are also easily recognised and often self-limiting and it is expected that if symptoms were to persist, patients would seek medical advice.

Allevia 120mg is indicated for the relief of symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis, at a dose of 120mg once daily for adults and children over 12 years.

What are the side effects?

Side effects are similar to those of other non-prescription medicines and are often self-limiting, such as dizziness, drowsiness, headache and nausea.

Non-sedating antihistamines cause less sedation and psychomotor impairment than the older antihistamines, although sedation can still occur but is usually minimal. This is because non-sedating antihistamines are less lipophilic than sedating antihistamines and therefore penetrate the blood brain barrier to a lesser extent.

Interactions and cautions

Fexofenadine can interact with indigestion remedies containing aluminium and magnesium, so it is recommended to leave at least two hours between doses.

The effectiveness  of fexofenadine can be reduced if taken with apple, orange or grapefruit juice.

Fexofenadine should be administered with care to elderly individuals with impaired kidney or liver function, or individuals with a history of heart disease. These individuals should speak to their pharmacist or doctor before taking fexofenadine.

Although there is no evidence of teratogenicity, manufacturers advise against use of fexofenadine in pregnant women. Fexofenadine is also present in breast milk, and although not thought to be harmful, should also be avoided in women who are breastfeeding