Prescriptions for Allergy Medications Surge: GoodRx Monthly Report

assortment of medicines
Tori Marsh
Tori Marsh, MPH, is on the Research Team at GoodRx, and is the resident expert on drug pricing and savings.
Posted on

Spring is officially here – and that means seasonal allergies have arrived. Prescriptions for allergy medications rose sharply in March, according to a GoodRx analysis of a nationally representative sample of US prescription fills, with some interesting patterns in state-by-state trends.

Our monthly GoodRx Index report also showed other drug trends for March:

Flu season may be over

After one of the worst flu seasons we’ve seen in years fills for oseltamivir (Tamiflu) declined even more in March. Fills at U.S. pharmacies appear to have peaked in January of this year. At present, fills for oseltamivir are close to normal yearly levels, indicating that we may have reached the end of this year’s flu season.

We make no promises, however: The CDC has warned of another flu wave that could hit the US.

Allergy season is just beginning

While we may be able to celebrate the end of the flu season sniffles, it looks like more is around the corner. Prescription fills for popular allergy medication cetirizine (Zyrtec) rose 25% from February to March. March also saw the highest number of fills for cetirizine so far this year, indicating that we have officially entered allergy season. Similarly, fills for montelukast (Singular), an inhaler used for asthma and allergies, are up 17% from February, and hydroxyzine hydrochloride, an antihistamine commonly used for allergies, fills are likewise up 17% from February.

Some states are being hit harder than others. For instance, fills for cetirizine were highest in Arizona (24% more fills in March than February), California (22% more fills), and Indiana (21% more fills) – all of which appear to be experiencing high pollen counts this year.

Put drug prices & coupons in your pocket!
We'll text you a link to download our free Android or iPhone app
Get GoodRx Mobile App

Higher fills for anxiety medications in March

Americans were fairly anxious in March. Based on a nationally representative sample of US prescription fills, March saw the most fills for antianxiety drugs this past year – and about 7% more fills than the yearly average. We’re not sure why March has been the most stressful month this year, but it does resemble data from a report from 2014.

Based on an analysis of Google searches, “misery” peaks in March – as more people are searching for terms like “anxiety,” “depression,” and “stress.”

March’s big movers

Drug prices constantly fluctuate, changing incrementally month over month. The big mover this month was citalopram, an SSRI used to treat depression. Prices for citalopram are up 17% from last month, from $45.24 to $53.12.

The most popular drugs in March

Every month, GoodRx tracks the most popular drugs prescribed in the U.S., comparing total prescriptions written and filled for all forms of the medications. This analysis is based on a representative sample of prescriptions filled at U.S. pharmacies across the 50 states. The result is a top 10 list of the most prescribed drugs in the United States.

  1. Atorvastatin
  2. Levothyroxine
  3. Lisinopril
  4. Hydrocodone/acetaminophen
  5. Amlodipine
  6. Ventolin
  7. Omeprazole
  8. Amoxicillin
  9. Ibuprofen
  10. Prednisone

Some other news from March

Drugs featured in this story

Filed under