Thursday, July 03, 2008

Claritin + Zyrtec + Benadryl = No Sneezing

I've taken Claritin daily for probably four years. Until about two months ago, it worked perfectly. I rarely sneezed, and I could breathe easy through the entire spring. This year, however, the Claritin stopped working. I switched to Zyrtec as soon as it was available over the counter (as a generic), and it seemed to work pretty well. Around mid-May, though, either my body stopped responding to the Zyrtec, or the pollen was just too much, but I entered what can only be described as the biggest snot-fest on earth. I sprouted Kleenex boxes in place of hands. My nose bled from being blown, stuffed, drained, and sprayed so much. My eyes burned at the thought of contacts. What happened to the days of simply breathing?

When things get really bad, I can take one Benadryl pill. One little pill is usually enough to clear me up right away. The only problem is that I essentially turn into a zombie. Seriously. I could take my own brain out of my head and start eating it without knowing the difference. Benadryl is a cruel mistress, but it works.

Somewhere in the mess of not being able to sleep, work, or think, I came up with a brilliant plan: if one drug works okay, and the other drug works okay, what happens when I put both drugs together? Now don't go thinking I'm some pill-popping nutjob: I did my research. I know how the drugs affect the body, and I know how they interact. I also know that it's pretty much impossible to overdose on low-grade antihistamines. (Yeah, if you're ever trying to kill yourself with pills, don't pick Claritin.) One morning at work, I was miserable, and I didn't want to deal with Benadryl's zombie-inducing side effects. I decided to take a 2nd Zyrtec. After two hours, I was still sneezing and snot-ing. I took a Claritin on top of the Zyrtec. Within half an hour, I was sailing smooth again. Oh the relief!

The current regimen of one Claritin at night and one Zyrtec in the morning is working pretty well. I have 24-hour coverage by at least one drug at all times. It's not exactly a doctor-prescribed way of doing things, but it does work. I can breathe easy again!


MissKris said...

I buy a generic antihistamine at BiMart called Chlortabs. $3.99 a bottle for 100, I think it is. Works as good for me as all the brand names. Don't make me into a zombie and neither do they get my heart to hammering like it's going to explode out of my chest. I've been plagued with allergies and hayfever all my life...I sympathize!

Chris Phipps said...

Funny, I had started doing the same thing - alternating every 12 hours, claritin and zyrtec. They both seem to work, with zyrtec having a dry effect and claritin a runny effect.

Chris Phipps said...

Very funny. I started doing the same thing, alternating Claritin and Zyrtec every 12 hours. Both seem to work with Zyrtec having a drying effect and Claritin a runny effect. Just like you said neither was always up to the task, but the dual 12 hour regimen certainly helped. I'm not convinced that the drugs work the same given the clear difference in the effect. ...didn't want to try the "D". Trying to avoid that next step.

Anonymous said...

Zyrtec is 1 every 24 hours never more than that

Unknown said...

Good to know.y dr had me start taking 2 zyrtec per 24 hrs, but in addition to everything else I am doing, it was minimal to no extra help. I know someone who (by Dr prescribed) alternates zyrtec and Allegra when things are really bad, and I was thinking of alternating claritin and zyrtec for a few days to see what would happen. I tend to have no sode-effects from allergy meds. I hope this helps me breathe better.