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Allegra D, Zyrtec D and Claritin D: What does D mean?

Nowadays, antihistamine medications, such as Allegra, Zyrtec or Claritin are the most commonly used options to treat allergic conditions, including hay fever or seasonal allergic rhinitis. However, when browsing web-sites of those medications or other sources of medical information, one may notice that there are also some variants of those medications, marked with the letter D: Allegra D, Zyrtec D or Claritin D respectively. Below is the story of what “D” means and what the difference between Allegra, Zyrtec, Claritin and their D-marked variants is.

People suffering from seasonal allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hay fever, may suffer from a range of symptoms, such as sneezing, itching of the nose, soft palate, and ear canal, redness and itching in the eyes, and “plugged” ears. However, about 90% of all sufferers consider stuffy nose or nasal congestion, as well as sinus pressure, to be the most unpleasant and frustrating symptoms of hay fever.

Here is where “D” in the name of a medication acquires sense, because letter “D” in Allegra D, Zyrtec D or Claritin D stands for “decongestant”. In other words, along with anti-allergic component, all the mentioned medications also contain a special component, which helps to fight nasal congestion and sinus pressure specifically.

It is known that antihistamines are the most up-to-date means to fight allergic conditions. Fexofenadine, cetirizine and loratidine are the antihistamines used in Allegra, Zyrtec and Claritin. These medications work by blocking the effect of histamines – chemicals, released in human organism in response to allergens, and responsible for developing allergic symptoms.

While most anti-allergic medications use different antihistamines, it is usually pseudoephedrine, which is used as decongestant in those medications. Allegra D, Zyrtec D and Claritin D – all contain 120 mg of pseudoephedrine to fight nasal congestion. Its mode of action is based on the ability of pseudoephedrine to narrow blood vessels in the lining of the nose. This results in shrinking swelled tissues inside a nose, so that air can pass through it more easily.

So, as you can see, Allegra D, Zyrtec D and Claritin D are some kinds of double-weapon against hay fever or seasonal allergic rhinitis. Unlike Allegra, Zyrtec and Claritin – they do not only prevent allergic processes in human organism, but also help to reduce nasal congestion quickly and effectively.

However, in spite of a, so to say, multifunctionality of Allegra D and its collegues, these medications should be used with certain precautions. Because of their pseudoephedrine component these medications should not be used by people with high blood pressure or those suffering from some heart disorders. Besides, pseudophedrine may interact with MAO inhibitors – medications used to treat depression.

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Finally, there is one more interesting fact about anti-allergic medications, containing pseudoephedrine. The point is that pseudoephedrine influences human central nervous system in the way similar to amphetamines. Of course, the effect from pseudoephedrine is not so intense, but it may still cause some excitatory side effects, such as nervousness, restlessness, dizziness, or insomnia. So, in case you suddenly feel mood elevation and excitement after taking pseudoephedrine containing medications, keep in mind that it may be not only because your nose breathing finally improved :)


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