A blog experiment by Brad Mills.


Better living through generic chemistry

In our last episode, I was bemoaning (among other things) the apparent beginning of allergy season and the large quantity of pollen on my car in the morning. Part of my ramblings included a vague mention of a search for some kind of non-drowsy medication to address this problem. Well, I found it and several others I'm going to try.

Thank god for expiring big pharma patents. Allegra, Claritin, and Zyrtec are all now available in generic form. To make it even better, the Rite Aid I visited had a buy one get one free sale on the fake Claritin and the fake Zyrtec, so I really stocked up. I'm sure I looked like some kind of meth addict carrying all those boxes of allergy meds up to the front of the store, but you know what? I really don't care. Turn me in, Rite Aid... let them come find something. Hell, I'll give you the grand tour of Casa de Mills.

I used to have bad allergy attacks every summer. It was miserable. At one point I was doing the whole allergy shot thing, so I was a pincushion as well as miserable. I'm not sure of a lot of the details here, but for some reason the shots came to an end one day. It seems like I took Seldane at one time too.

Anyway, it's been an on-and-off thing over the years, and this year it's definitely on. Like Donkey Kong. So I'm starting with the the fake Claritin. It seems to work fine, and yes, it seems to help with the dermographism too. I'm not an expert on the "new" allergy meds — I come from the Benadryl era — so I don't know how effective the others will be yet.

The names are certainly intimidating. Generics, so Claritin becomes loratadine, Zyrtec becomes cetirizine, and Allegra (the big gun, according to a reliable source) becomes — get this! — fexofenadine hydrochloride. There's kind of a household tradition here of preceding any generic clone of a big name product with the letter K, the K standing for Kroger (as in Big K Cola and Dr. K). So, I suppose these can become Klaritin, Kyrtec, and Kallegra.

At any rate, they're working. And despite the non-drowsy claim, I find myself sleeping better when taking these drugs. I suspect I'm just breathing better at night, thus waking up less. I do kind of feel like an old man here talking about this pill and that pill and this one does this and that one does that, but whatever. Timothy Leary nailed it: Better living through chemistry. Even if this isn't exactly what he had in mind.

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