What is fexofenadine, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
Fexofenadine is an oral, “second generation” antihistamine that is used to treat the signs and symptoms of allergy and hives. It is similar to the other second generation antihistamines loratadine (Claritin), cetirizine (Zyrtec) and azelastine (Astelin).
Histamine is a chemical that is responsible for many of the signs and symptoms of allergic reactions, for example, swelling of the lining of the nose, sneezing, and itchy eyes. Histamine is released from histamine-storing cells (mast cells) and then attaches to other cells that have receptors for histamine. The attachment of the histamine to the receptors causes the cells to be “activated,” releasing other chemicals that produce the effects that we associate with allergy (for example, sneezing). Fexofenadine blocks one type of receptor for histamine (the H1 receptor) and thus prevents activation of H1 receptor-containing cells by histamine. Unlike the first generation antihistamines, fexofenadine and other second-generation antihistamines do not readily enter the brain from the blood. Therefore, they cause less drowsiness and are called non-sedating antihistamines. Fexofenadine was approved by the FDA in July 1995.
What brand names are available for fexofenadine?
Allegra, Allegra Allergy, Children’s Allegra, Allergy 24-HR, Mucinex Allergy
Is fexofenadine available as a generic drug?
GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes
Do I need a prescription for fexofenadine?
No, yes (suspension)
What is the dosage for fexofenadine?
Which drugs or supplements interact with fexofenadine?
Aluminum containing antacids (for example, Maalox) reduced the absorption of fexofenadine when administered 15 minutes apart. Therefore, aluminum containing antacids and fexofenadine should not be administered together. Fruit juices (apple, orange, grapefruit) may reduce the absorption of fexofenadine. Fexofenadine should only be administered with water.
Is fexofenadine safe to take if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?
Fexofenadine has not been adequately studied in pregnant women.
Fexofenadine has not been adequately studied in women who are breastfeeding.
What else should I know about fexofenadine?
What preparations of fexofenadine are available?
Tablets: 30, 60 and 180 mg. Suspension: 30 mg/5 ml.
Children 2-11 years of age should be given 30 mg twice daily for seasonal allergies or urticaria.
Children 6 months to 2 years old should receive 15 mg twice daily for urticaria.
The suspension is used for children less than 6 years old.
How should I keep fexofenadine stored?
Tablets and suspension should be stored at room temperature between 20 C – 25 C (68 F – 77 F).
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Medically Reviewed on 3/8/2019
FDA Prescribing Information