Why is this medication prescribed?
Fexofenadine is used to relieve the allergy symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis (''hay fever''), including runny nose; sneezing; red, itchy, or watery eyes; or itching of the nose, throat, or roof of the mouth in adults and children 2 years of age and older. It is also used to relieve symptoms of urticaria (hives; red, itchy raised areas of the skin), including itching and rash in adults and children 6 months of age and older. Fexofenadine is in a class of medications called antihistamines. It works by blocking the effects of histamine, a substance in the body that causes allergy symptoms.
How should this medicine be used?
Fexofenadine comes as a tablet and a suspension (liquid) to take by mouth. It is usually taken with water once or twice a day. Fexofenadine will work better if it is not taken with fruit juices such as orange, grapefruit, or apple juice. Take fexofenadine at around the same time(s) every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take fexofenadine exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Fexofenadine controls the symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis and urticaria but does not cure these conditions. Continue to take fexofenadine even if you feel well and are not experiencing these symptoms. If you wait too long between doses, your symptoms may become worse.
Shake the suspension well before each use to mix the medication evenly.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking fexofenadine,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to fexofenadine, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in fexofenadine tablets or suspension. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention either of the following: erythromycin (E.E.S., E-Mycin, Erythrocin) and ketoconazole (Nizoral). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- if you are taking an antacid containing aluminum or magnesium (Maalox, Mylanta, others), take the antacid a few hours before or after fexofenadine.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had kidney disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking fexofenadine, call your doctor.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Fexofenadine may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- pain in the arms, legs, or back
- pain during menstrual period
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- difficulty swallowing or breathing
Fexofenadine may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
Symptoms of overdose may include:
- dry mouth
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.