Orange Juice with Allegra

Sticking with the Allegra theme…

I was taking a rare moment to relax last night (usually I’m running around with my head cut off!), and while I was watching TV (American Idol to be more specific) a Zyrtec commercial came on. 

I think it was a Zyrtec commercial!  All I know is the producers of said commercial were clearly putting Allegra down because somewhere on the Allegra labeling it says you shouldn’t drink orange juice while taking this medication (or something along those lines!). 

The reason why this statement about Allegra is true is because fruit juices like apple, orange, and grapefruit juice can decrease the amount of Allegra that is absorbed by about 36%!

This doesn’t mean you have to avoid the fruit juices for the whole day.  Just give the Allegra enough time to get into your system and you can drink all the orange juice you want!  

How much time does that take?  To be on the super safe side, I’d say wait 4 hours before drinking your fruit juice after taking Allegra. 

So, this article led to a ton of comments and questions -thanks for all the feedback.  Please read the follow up article Juice and Allegra.  Have more questions/comments?  Keep ‘em coming! :)

Any questions?  E-mail me at Cate@getpharmacyadvice.com or leave a comment below. 

Happy Spring!

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Comments

Cate- So glad that you posted this information. I was so surprised to see that same Zyrtec commercial. I went online to check on the juice contraindication. I was happy to see that it was just regarding how much Allegra is absorbed not that it was bad for you. I tell all my friends about Allegra because I found that it is the only allergy medication besides Tylenol allergy that you can take on an as needed basis. Other allergy medications from my experience work better when you take them consistently such as Claritin.
Lisa

i saw that same commercial just now and your answered my questions of is this true and if so why. so thanks :)

Thank You! I too was bothered by that commercial, (and yes, it was a Zyrtec commercial) so I wanted to see if internet could advise me if it was dangerous, or what. Zyrtec should be concerned – their product knocked me out (drowsy, even when it probably should not have), and Allegra works like a charm. Thank you for clarifying.

I have been taking Allegra with orange juice for over ten years
and I never have a symptom.

I’d much rather avoid fruit juices and take Allegra than endure the crippling joint pain caused by Zyrtec.

@ John, What? Really? After watching the same commercial I also did this research online just to be sure -but what are u saying abt Zyrtec? I take it everyday.

I am with Kirstie…I have been taking Allegra for OVER 20 YEARS, and this is the first time I have EVER heard about any contraindication for juices. I am an orange juice fanatic, and usually have juice every day, and have even taken my Allegra with juice (esp during peak seasons where I take more then my usual once a day dose)and NEVER had any issue. This sounds like a bunch of bs conjured up by some competitor mascarading under the auspices of some valid study. Just how conclusive is this PROOF of a contraindication? My son has all of the same allergies I have (although he is not big on juice), and he tried Claritin (which I tried years ago before it went OTC and it made me sick) and Zyrtec and NEITHER of them worked for him. Allegra is the only one that has worked.

Thank you for posting this. Like others here, I saw the Zyrtec commercial and wondered about the claim. It’s ironic that seeing the commercial and reading these comments is actually inclining me to try allegra this season after reading the side effects of Zyrtec and the good comments about allegra. Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

I take twice the prescribed dose in order to overcome the loss caused by the orange juice.

My son takes Allegra (liquid), he’s six, and wants some sort of juice in the morning before school. He usually wants it right when he wakes up. How long after he’s had juice should I wait before giving him Allegra? Thanks.

I have started taking a low dose of allegra and found my blood pressure has gone up quite a bit. Is this a normal reaction

What about taking Allegra an hour or two after drinking Orange juice?

Is it the vitamin C in the OJ that is responsible? If not, what component is?

I agree with Jessica, this is not working out very well for Zyrtec.

Wow! Thank you. The info you’ve given sure explains why my son has been having some issues recently @ track. His allergies trigger asthma and he has been having trouble breathing @ track meets. This coincides with his having OJ for breakfast for a few weeks.

Thanks for posting. I’m a pharmacist as well, and sadly (hanging my head in shame), I didn’t know about the whole “fruit juice thing” until I saw the Zyrtec comercial. I think it’s kind of funny that Zyrtec decided to actually “promote” Allegra in it’s commercial. Poor marketing strategy; kind of like mudslinging in an election. Anyway, nice site. I’m glad to see other pharmacists who are blogging that aren’t quite “Angry”….

When I saw that same commercial I had to look it up – because I have been taking Allegra for years with my OJ in the AM (seasonally in the spring) and no doctor or pharmacist has ever pointed this out. I was wondering if this was new. Anyway, my Allegra works just fine, but I will now stop taking it at the same time as my juice. And – don’t like Zyrtec, which I tried first and the drowsiness was pretty horrible for me.

I also cannot take Zyrtec unless I want to sleep all day. It knocks me out. Maybe that’s how it works. It knocks you out which keeps you from going outside, so no allergy problems! I really think the makers of Allegra should clear this up about the orange juice maybe in a commercial of their own. Thank you for the information.

My prescription for Allegra says not to take antacids within 2 hours, but nothing about avoiding juice. I have also been taking Allegra with OJ for years. Allegra must be SO GOOD that it works even at only 64% efficacy.

I take Zyrtec every morning, and have never tried Allegra. The former has been quite effective for my symptoms.

However I have to say that this is a good example of the fear-mongering that occurs in some commercials that drives me absolutely insane. Notice that they leave the question of “why shouldn’t I take Allegra with juice?” open, leaving the watcher of the advert thinking that there is a harmful effect as a result of combining the two.

Quite frankly it makes me want to stop purchasing and taking Zyrtec. Note to manufacturers: don’t use unfounded scare tactics to sell your products. It turns off those of us with brains.

Many medicines have reduced effectiveness if taken with fruit juice, which interferes with the method of absorption used by some types of medicines.

A study was done with Allegra that showed it is affected by that, so they put that information on the label.

It is thought that Zyrtec and Claritin aren’t affected that way, but it appears they haven’t actually done studies on them to confirm that.

In reality many people will have no problem taking affected medicines with fruit juice (as several of the comments here demonstrate), if their symptoms weren’t severe enough to need the full potential of the medicine. You still get two-thirds of it.

Wow! Thank you all for all your comments and questions! We have received so many emails and questions -we decided to post a follow up article -Juice and Allegra.

Thanks again and please keep the comments and questions coming!

Hi Doreen,

There is no known link between Allegra and an increase in blood pressure. I would follow up with your physician. Also, I would take into consideration, have you added any other medications or made any recent changes to your diet.

Zyrtec allegra claritin are all good meds for allergies some wk for some people an some don’t. Everyone is diff. The commercials are same as in politics. Each side saying something diff about the other to turn ur thoughts. They are all fine to take w juices. Allegra an zyrtec both wk for me while claritin does not. Either way you can’t always get worked up. My med school teacher would be knocked out just by taking tylenol so again everyone reacts diff.

Last year I had to take a Zertec 24HR every other hr until the 30 day box was gone the next day! One 12HR Allegra sample from my Sis In-law cured my near suicidal torment for a day and a half. Zertec may as well be table salt.

I have taken allegra for years and eat lots of grapefruit
And love oj, I cannot function with zyrtec

I have found that when taking Allegra-D (includes a decongestant) that my blood pressure becomes elevated and that is a known side effect of the medicine.

The Zyrtec commercial is false and misleading. You CAN consume fruit juices with Allegra. Fruit juices and certain antacids could make it harder for your body to absorb Allegra. In other words, fruit juices may increase the amount of time it takes for Allegra to work — and may even decrease Allegra’s effectiveness, but there is absolutely NO ADVERSE HEALTH CONSEQUENCE from consuming fruit juices with Allegra. Zyrtec’s repeated claims that you can’t take fruit juices with Allegra, therefore, are false; and based on the comments in this thread by Allegra users worried about the health effects of fruit juice and Allegra, Zyrtec’s claims are misleading. Shame on Zyrtec!

I’ve always wondered about that. I hated taking Allegra because it made me super drowsy. Zyrtec is the only thing I have been able to take since getting pregnant. It has done wonders for my indoor allergies and I’m really interested to see how it will handle my outdoor allergies. But in short Zyrtec is the best!

Allegra works wonders for my children and me. I have severe asthma and can tell if I am even a little late taking a dose. Zyrtec worked ok for me but either made me sleep all the time or feel like a zombie. Was so excited when I changed to Allegra and felt like a real person again! Different things work for different people…just experiment and ask questions.

Guys they’re not saying that it’s bad for you or anything like that you are making assumptions. Ask a pharmacist and any form of acidic juices i.e. grapefruit, orange, pineapple ect. can reduce the effectiveness of certain drugs because the extra acid in your stomach dissolves the medicine before your body can absorb it. That is a fact and is true for Allegra and a fair amount of other meds, like the heartburn pills sitting on my desk right now they say only to take with water, why because anything else will up your acid content in your stomach reducing the effectiveness.

To those who have been doing it for years, newsflash just because you’ve always done something that way doesn’t necessarily mean it is the most effective method of doing it stuff and medical knowledge especially changes almost daily.

Pharmacists usually tell u not to take meds with citrus juices (especially grapefruit) cuz they have natural chemicals in them that inhibit enzymes that break down drugs. That can lead to drug overdose.

I dont know the mechanism by which juice lowers allegra exposure, but here is a good rule of thumb: unless pharmacist or doc says otherwise, take ur drugs with a full cup of water!!

I would encourage all of you taking ALLEGRA to check your med. I’m shocked that some Pharmacists and PCPs aren’t familiar with the Bailey studies (Google ACID TEST, DAVID BAILEY) which PROVE the lack of absorption and increased window of allergen exposure when taken with juice. This has serious implications for hives (CIU) patients. For other drugs like warfarin, it can be dangerous.

I’m also dismayed that no one talks about the ALLEGRA antacid issue, its effect with high fat meals and its previous PREGNANCY C Classification (teratogenic effects) – Moms, talk to your docs before taking Allegra. THIS PREGNANCY INFORMATION WAS CLEARLY ON THE PRESCRIBING INFO – How it never made it on the OTC label is beyond me.

Haha, I JUST saw the commercial and immediately googled it! Wow, I had no idea!

Allegra DOESN’T cause drowsiness? After my daily Claritin became two a day to work my doctor switched me to Xyzal taken daily with Cimetidine and a back up EpiPen. The Xyzal made me too sleepy to function so she put me on Zyrtec with the Cimetidine. I stopped taken my daily dose immediately after the first day because they BOTH cause drowsiness and I found myself falling asleep behind the wheel. Would switch to Allegra work best? Help!

I was surprised to see the Zyrtec add. I looked into it because none of the antihistamines work for my runny nose and I always take them with orange juice. Benadryl, Zyrec, Allegra, Chlortrimeton do not help stop my erratic drip and also none of them make me sleepy. I will try Allegra again without OJ.

lol it’s funny how the commercial all brought us here.. :)

I just want to thank you for your explanation about Allegra and fruit juice. The commercial didn’t make it clear as to why you don’t take Allegra with fruit juice, but now with your explanation, I know I can enjoy my fruit/fruit juice later in the afternoon or evening as I take Allegra in the morning. Allegra works for me and I can now have my fruit juice too! Simply marvelous!

Hi Sandra,

All antihistamines can cause drowsiness. First generation antihistamines, like Benadryl (diphenhydramine) are most likely to cause drowsiness. Allegra (fexofenadine) and Claritin (loratadine) are less likely to cause drowsiness. But everyone is different. I do recommend trying Allegra (fexofenadine) and see if it works for you!

Take care,
Nova
Nova Simpson, Pharm.D.

Whoever designed that Zyrtec ad campaign needs to find a new line of work. As several others have implied, I would not have even considered trying Allegra had it not have been for that Zyrtec commercial. I’ve been using Zyrtec seasonally for two years, and it has always made me drowsy. I figured that if the worst thing that the creators of Zyrtec can say about Allegra is that you can’t take it with orange juice, it must be incredible! And it is: No more symptoms and no more drowsiness.

Nice Post :) thx

It’s the “-D” in Allegra-D or any other combo antihistamine/decongestant that causes a rise in blood pressure. The “-D” stands for decongestant and is usually psuedoephedrine, or phenylephrine in later formulations of many OTC medicines thanks to the war on some drugs, and these decongestants are chemical stimulants. My advice is if you don’t need a decongestant, then do not take any of the “-D” medications and if you do happen to need a decongestant in addition to an antihistamine then take separate medicines and take as absolutely small of a dose as possible of the decongestant just enough for it to work. In most people these stimulant decongestants can cause a big spike in blood pressure and that’s not healthy for you at all.

Have tried claritin, allegra and zyrtec. Allegra is the only one that seems to work for me. I want to let everyone know that while taking zyrtec, I became dangerously sleepy, leading me to fall asleep at the wheel, run off the road and total my vehicle.. thank goodness I’m still alive! Never again zyrtec! I’m back on allegra and don’t plan on ever going back! Be careful people!

Thanks to all for the excellent comments here and to Dr. Simpson for following it up with the article she mentions above!

I would also like to point folks here to this fantastic report on antihistamines, from Consumer Reports. It has great comparison information about both first and second gen antihistamines, as well as between the OTCs, and the OTCs vs. generics. It was produced in 2010, so pretty recent and is very helpful.
http://www.consumerreports.org

Also… Dr. Simpson, in her article linked above, recommends Allegra (fexofenadine), and points us to a coupon for it on the Allegra website. I would like to remind folks that the generic varieties of these meds (loratadine, fexofenadine, etc.) sold by almost every chain pharmacy under their own store names (CVS, Walgreens, etc.), are EXACTLY the same as the brand name varieties (Zyrtec, Allegra, Claritin, etc.) but are much cheaper! I have recently started taking loratadine (CVS generic version), and am considering trying fexofenadine. I’ll print the $4 coupon from Allegra’s website and will be interested to see if it actually brings the cost down below CVS’ generic fexo.

Oh, and the best thing I learned from Dr. Simpson’s article… to take these meds at night, not in the morning! Makes total sense!! Thanks Dr.!!

Jason

Zyrtec is not making this up. Read the Allegra label as it clearly states that it should not be taken with fruit juice. Zyrtec is simply positioning their product in competition with Allegra. Like others, I too have taken Allegra with fruit juice and have not had any adverse reactions, however, I have have noticed that my allergies are sometimes persistent longer in the AM.

Everyone keeps talking about orange juice, but the commercial as well as the Allegra package just states “juice”. It is always good to know the reason behind a directive like that, and all patients should be as informed as possible about their medications, but really everyone should be following the manufacturers warnings on any medications unless your doctor gives you an appropriate exception. Obviously I was curious as well or I wouldn’t be here, but my curiosity extended to whether eating fruit when you take it is an issue as well. I eat fruit every morning, a lot of times with plain yogurt. Based on other info here I’m thinking it could have the same affect on absorption as juice. Should I adjust my Allegra dosing schedule to avoid taking it at the same, or near to the same, time I eat my fruit? Thanks in advance for the info regarding this!

Hi Ginny,

Thanks for leaving a comment and great question! There is no information about eating fruit and taking Allegra (fexofenadine) at the same time. From the studies about fruit juice and Allegra, I surmise that there are two things that make fruit okay. 1) Concentration -you would have to eat 4 oranges to equal 8 ounces of OJ and 2) Absorption -solid fruit is absorbed much slower then the juice.

I would say that it is fine to eat fruit with Allegra.

Take care,
Nova
Nova Simpson, Pharm.D.

Hi Jason, thanks for leaving the comment! And I agree the generic version is just as good and usually much cheaper (even with the coupon!).

Take care,
Nova
Nova Simpson,Pharm.D.

awesome info! thank you! I agree with many of you….I have tried MULTIPLE allergy meds and allegra is the one for me…zyrtec gives me joint pain, as one writer stated above and puts me in a horrible fog. I thank the company that manufactures allegra….it has made my life so much better! sharon

WOULD IT BE BETTER TO TAKE ALLEGRA AT NIGHT.

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