Wednesday, November 29, 2006

allergy meds

Last night after leaving the gym, I went to Walgreens' to pickup my prescription nasal spray. For the past 10 years or so, I've been on allergy medication year round. As I've gotten older, so have the number of medications I have to take.

At first, it was Chlor-Trimeton. It often made me sleepy and thirsty, but it worked. Then, Claritin-D because it didn't make me drowsy. After that, Zyrtec. Most health insurance carriers stopped discounting Claritin and Zyrtec in the late 90's, and buying it over the counter got expensive. I switched to my current medication of Sudafed Plus (or the generic version). I added Rhinocort, my nasal spray, about 6 years ago, and became a regular user of Advair (for asthma) last year.

Gradually, it became harder to buy Sudafed in bulk supply because of the increased illegal manufacturing of methamphetamines from one of its key ingredients, pseudoephedrine. Just this past September, the FDA required all medications containing pseudophedrine to be taken off store counters. They could only be sold in limited supply at the pharmacy counter.

Screw that. Too much of a hassle. So I began buying the new formula of Sudafed Plus, now called Sudafed Plus PE (no pseudoephedrine). Within a week, I found the PE versions weren't working as effectively. Two weeks ago, I tried loratradine (generic version of Claritin) in place of Sudafed Plus PE and nothing improved. My tried and true combo for sneezing and runny nose has been original formula Sudafed Plus and Rhinocort.

I was still in denial despite the constant runny nose and increased tissue use. It wasn't until this week that my eyes looked redder than usual, (even after allergy eye drops) and irritation with my contact lenses that I have to go back to the original formula of Sudafed Plus.

So when I went to pick up Rhinocort, I also asked for Wal-phed, Walgreen's generic version of Sudafed Plus. I asked for 2 boxes of 48, but the pharmacist was only permitted to sell me a single box. Damn. I was required to show my drivers license and they entered it into their database to record the purchase date. I take 2 a day, so this will only last me a little over 3 weeks. Federal laws won't let me renew a supply in less than 30 days.

I took a dose when I got home and within an hour, I noticed the difference. No more runny nose and watery eyes. A wonderful relief, but know I am no longer a drug-free spring chicken. My parents and relatives at their age try to top each other on how many pills they have to take. I'm not far behind.

I missed you, pseudoephedrine. Thank you for making me feel better.


Anonymous said...

I found your blog trying to search for something for my daughter. She has seasonal allergies and her doctor recommended clairitin and swears it won't cause drowsiness but when my daughter takes it she is so out of it. Have you found anything that doesn't make you drowsy?

Lani Chin said...

Unfortunately, my pill & nasal spray combination would make most people drowsy. I am still on Wal-phed allergy pills (with pseudophedrine) but have since switched my nasal spray from Rhinocort to Nasonex. Perhaps have your daughter try just a prescribed nasal spray and no pills. Good luck!