Xyzal OTC will soon be available without a prescription March 2017. In a growing trend in the allergy pharmaceutical market, most prescription medications are now becoming over the counter. Xyzal (generic brand name is levoceterizine) received FDA approval earlier this month for treatment for the relief of symptoms of seasonal and year round allergies.
The medication will be marketed as Xyzal Allergy 24HR by Chattem, a division of Sanofi. Xyzal OTC will come in 2 forms, a 5 mg tablet for ages 6 and up and a 0.5mg/ml oral formulation for ages 2 and up.
Xyzal (levocetirizine) came out years ago after its parent drug, Zyrtec (cetirizine), became over the counter as well. Xyzal is an L-isomer of its parent drug Zyrtec and it was promoted by UCB as having less side effects than Zyrtec. Xyzal (levocetirizine) is a mirror image of Zyrtec (cetirizine), but the company advertised that they removed the part of the drug that causes the side effect of drowsiness (R-isomer). But Xyzal and Zyrtec both have the same active ingredient. There are no head to head studies comparing Xyzal OTC (levocetirizine) to Zyrtec (cetirizine), but Xyzal was never marketed as being stronger than Zyrtec in the past when it was available as a prescription, so Xyzal OTC is unlikely to give better results than Zyrtec except for possibly less systemic side effects such as sleepiness.
Xyzal has always required a prescription since its inception, but many insurance companies balked at covering this medication since there were many over the counter alternatives such as Claritin, Allegra and Zyrtec. Most insurance companies have required prior authorizations to get Xyzal approved or they did not cover it at all. Now Xyzal Allergy 24HR will join them on the shelves.
Oral antihistamines are the most widely used medication in the United States to treat the symptoms of allergies. The most common symptoms are runny nose, sneezing, itchy watery eyes and itching of the nose and throat.
Sanofi’s Chattem division also promotes Allegra and the nasal steroid, Nasocort, both which are OTC as well. Nasal steroids also treat the symptoms of allergic rhinitis and most of them can be found over the counter too.
Many allergy sufferers will welcome Xyzal OTC Allergy 24HR to the over counter market as some patients responded to it over other oral antihistamines.
The next oral antihistamine that will likely become over the counter in the future is Clarinex (desloratadine). Clarinex also is a derivative of the parent drug Claritin (loratadine). Clarinex and Claritin both contain the same active ingredients. The way Clarinex was manufactured from Claritin, is very similar to Xyzal/Zyrtec as described above.
If you are wondering which medication is right for you in this crowded OTC market, speak to your local allergist about which class of medication is right for you (i.e. oral antihistamine, nasal steroid) and which one within the class is best for you as well.