No Prescription? No Problem. FDA Approves Over-The-Counter Xyzal

Roni Shye
Roni Shye, PharmD BCGP BCACP, is a licensed pharmacist in the states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
Posted on

It’s always exciting when a medication that once required a prescription becomes available over-the-counter. The ability to purchase a medication easily from the grocery story or pharmacy saves time and money!

Recently, the FDA approved Xyzal (levocetirizine) as an over-the-counter treatment for the relief of allergy symptoms. The approval of Xyzal Allergy 24hr adds another antihistamine option to the current OTC arsenal, but be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist before adding any over-the-counter medications to your regimen.

So, what is the difference between the prescription and the OTC version of a drug like Xyzal?

You should know that before the status of these medications can be changed, the FDA requires that they are evaluated for both safety and efficacy, so the OTC version is just as safe and effective.

Having medications available without a prescription gives you the liberty to decide which medication you think will be right to help you and treat your specific symptoms, and may be more convenient and less expensive.

Typically, the medications that are available over-the-counter treat conditions that do not require extra monitoring or follow-up with a healthcare provider and thus can be used at your discretion. However, it is important to follow directions and ask your pharmacist or doctor if you have any questions or concerns.

What is OTC Xyzal indicated for?

Xyzal is used for the relief of symptoms associated with seasonal or year-round allergy symptoms, as well as the treatment of daily hives and itching. Xyzal allergy 24hr is an oral antihistamine with a 24 hour affect, and should only be taken once daily.

Xyzal Allergy 24hr will be available in the same strengths as the previous prescription-only products: 5 mg tablets and 0.5 mg/ml bottle of oral solution. Tablets are indicated for use in those 6 years and older while the oral solution is indicated for use in those 2 years and older.

There are too many allergy OTC medications. How do I choose?

As you may have noticed, there are quite a few OTC allergy medications on the market right now like Benadryl, Claritin, Zyrtec and Allegra. Although the convenience and availability of OCT medications is great, it may be overwhelming to some people. If you ever find yourself wandering the OTC aisles stunned by the amount of choices and products, remember that your pharmacist is always a great resource.

In order for the pharmacist to help select the best OTC medication for you, it’s important to always carry your current medication list. This list should include any samples from your doctor, specialty medications, vitamins, minerals, supplements, or other over-the-counter products that you use, even if its not on a regular basis.

For more information, and for help deciding which allergy medication is best for you, you can also check out this tool from our friends at Iodine.

Drugs featured in this story

Filed under