Xyzal (Levocetirizine) is an allergy medication that is available over the counter beginning Spring 2017. Xyzal was initially approved in 2007 by the FDA as a prescription only medication indicated for the treatment of seasonal and year round allergy symptoms. In this article, we will discuss everything you want to know about Xyzal OTC!
What Is Xyzal?
The generic name for Xyzal OTC is Levocetirizine Dihydrochloride. It is a 'third generation antihistamine' indicated for seasonal and year round allergy symptoms including runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes and itching of the nasal passages or throat. It is the first 'third generation antihistamine' to be made available over the counter in the United States. It is very similar to the current 'second generation antihistamines' available over the counter: Claritin, Zyrtec and Allegra. Xyzal OTC is dosed once daily and lasts 24 hours per dose.
Xyzal OTC, an antihistamine, works by competing for against histamine for 'histamine receptor sites'. Histamine is a compound our bodies naturally produce and it mediates many aspects of our immune response. It causes a dilation of blood vessels, itching and swelling among other things (which cause our unpleasant symptoms!). Xyzal blocks the receptors that histamine binds to, which in turn significantly reduces our response to it, relieving our symptoms.
The onset of action of Xyzal OTC is about 1 hour after dosing and is recommended to be taken in the evening. While it does work immediately after one dose, continuous and consistent dosing makes the medication more effective. It does not have to been taken with food and can be taken on an empty stomach. While it generally is non-drowsy, a small percentage of people may become tired after taking it.
Vs. Other Antihistamines
One significant benefit of Xyzal OTC vs. other antihistamines, is that is may be more beneficial for skin related allergy symptoms. A study completed in 2002 tested Xyzal vs. Claritin, Allegra, ebastine and mizolastine on effectiveness in reducing a skin reaction after an exposure to histamine. The study showed that Xyzal was not only the most potent antihistamine in stemming an allergic response, it was also the most consistent performer in the tests.
In summary, Xyzal OTC is a safe and effective antihistamine option that is available over the counter starting in the Spring of 2017. It will be located in most stores next to the second generation antihistamines - Claritin, Zyrtec and Allegra. It is a recommended medicine if you are looking for a effective antihistamine that lasts 24 hours with minimal drowsiness.