Claritinis now available without a prescription. The same medicine is also marketed as “Allavert” as well as various store-brand generic “Loratadine”. These are all the same and may be used interchangeably.
We are pleased that, unlike some previous drugs which have “left behind” their pediatric versions when they made the transition from “Rx” to “OTC”, all the versions of Claritin which we use in kids (liquid, melt-in mouth “reditabs”, and pills) are indeed available over the counter to the public.
The fact that you no longer need a prescription to obtain Claritin means that, for many of you, it will no longer be covered by your insurance. Nonetheless, our recommendation is that you buy the OTC version and your child continue to take it as previously prescribed. Although the cost of OTC Claritin on a monthly basis may be slightly higher than your previous insurance “co-pay” (and higher than other OTC allergy medicines), we feel if Claritin has worked well for your child in the past it is worth the price. Claritin remains the best “non-sedating”antihistamine for most children – it has been used longer and more extensively studied in children than the alternatives, it has the fewest side effects, and the most flexible dosing. Nothing about being available without a prescription changes these facts.
We will still provide a Claritin prescription to clarify our dosing instructions if you request it, but we will NOT change our recommendation to a different drug simply to obtain insurance coverage except in cases of extreme financial hardship.
Shop around! Our research suggests there has been a lot of price variability on this product in stores since it became OTC, with some stores overcharging terribly. Avoid buying small quantity (5 or 10 tablet) packages, as these will cost more per pill. Try to get packages with 24 or 48 tablets. This will get you the best price. As of July 2007, the prices we think you SHOULD be paying for this medicine are as follows:
|Best price/package||Typical dose||Typical cost per month|
|Claritin liquid 5mg/tsp||~$11 per 4oz bottle||1 tsp (5mg) per day||$13.80|
|Allavert 10mg disintegrating tabs||~$27 per box of 48 tabs||1 tab per day||$16.90|