Are You Getting the Most Out of Allegra?

by Kathi MacNaughton Health Professional

The quick answer to the question above is probably not, unless you're taking Allegra on an empty stomach and only with water. You see, Allegra and fruit juice don't mix and neither does Allegra and most antacids.

Let me clarify though, there is no risk with taking Allegra with fruit juice. It is a very safe medication to take. But if you take it within 1 hour of drinking fruit juice or taking an antacid, then chances are, you're not getting the full effectiveness from your allergy medicine that you were hoping for.

Still having allergy symptoms like runny nose, itchy eyes or sneezing, even an hour or two after taking Allegra? If so, taking a closer look at how you've been taking it could be in order.

About Allegra

Allegra, or fenofexadine in generic form, is a second-generation antihistamine that just became available over-the-counter early in 2011. It happens to be my antihistamine of choice, and for many other allergy sufferers as well. It doesn't make you drowsy, and when taken as directed, it can provide extraordinarily effective control over bothersome allergy symptoms.

I've taken Allegra off an on for years (couldn't always get it when it was still a prescription medication). But I have to admit, I just recently learned of the problem with its effectiveness when taken with fruit juice.

Facts About Allegra & Fruit Juice

When you take a medication orally, it ends up in your digestive tract, where it starts to do its work. All medicines must somehow make their way into your bloodstream, which carries them where they need to go to have an effect.

Allegra was designed to target tiny receptors on cells in your small intestines. These receptors absorb the Allegra and help it work where it needs to. Unfortunately, certain fruit juices, especially orange and grapefruit juice, interfere with this absorption.

Studies have shown that absorption can be reduced by as much as 40%. And that means, you're not really getting your full dose of Allegra So, obviously, it's not going to work as well as you'd expect either.

Antacids have a similar "blocking" effect on the receptors.

The Solution

So what can you do? Well, that's easy! Just don't take Allegra with fruit juice anymore! In fact, don't drink fruit juice for an hour or two before... or after... taking Allegra, just to be sure you're getting your full Allegra control.

Also, if you're used to taking Allegra in the morning, try switching to a bedtime dose. You're less likely to be drinking juice that time of night, and some studies have shown that gives you peak control just when you're waking up the next morning.

Kathi  MacNaughton
Meet Our Writer
Kathi MacNaughton

Kathi is an experienced consumer health education writer, with a prior career in nursing that spanned more than 30 years — much of it in the field of home health care. Over the past 15 years, she's been an avid contributor for a number of consumer health websites, specializing in asthma, allergy, and COPD. She writes not only as a healthcare professional, but also as a lifelong sufferer of severe allergies and mild asthma, and as a caregiver for her mother with COPD.