Sunday, May 18, 2008

Where can I buy loratadine inexpensively?

Loratadine is a medication that is approved to treat allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and urticaria (hives). Loratadine is available without a prescription in any store. Loratadine is the formal chemical name of the compound. I visited some stores specifically to measure how loratadine is being sold these days. The stores included: CVS, RiteAid, Walgreens, BiLo, Costco, Publix, Sam's Club, Target, and Walmart. It is still sold under its original name as Claritin as well as two other names: Alavert, loratadine. Once Claritin's patent expired, the price for a 10 mg pill rapidly decreased from about $2 per pill to less than $0.40 per pill depending on 3 factors: what brand, the geographic location, and the quantity of pills that are purchased.

I want to make some comments. First, there is no difference between the name brands and loratadine. They are the same medication in different colored boxes. As an allergist, I am constantly pointing this difference out to people. Not that I have anything against the name brands. Fair is fair. If they believe the name brands really help them more, I certainly don't want to deflate their beliefs. Second, the more pills you buy at the same time, the lower the price per pill. Third, the large discount stores usually have the best buys. For example, Sam's Club has loratadine 300 pills for $11.02 ($0.037 per pill). I stood behind a man today in Walmart who was buying Claritin (10 pills for $4, $0.40 per pill). I told him this was the same thing as loratadine. He said he didn't know that, but he was not going back to exchange the box because this would mean that he'd have to stand in line all over again. You can see that for a few dollars more, he could have purchased many more pills and saved some time too. I do not favor 1 store over others because the price of loratadine, like all commodities, fluctuates. Finally, on-line drug stores also sell loratadine. Remember to add in the cost of postage. You could get a good deal if you're careful. I do not recommend buying medications on-line from Canada or elsewhere if the simple reason that there is no accountability. (Caveat emptor = let the buyer beware.) If you get a placebo pill or have some side effects, you have no one to ask questions about the product. This is one of the benefits of our tightly regulated health care system in the U.S.

In summary, you should be able to purchase loratadine for less than $0.05 per pill in many stores provided you buy a reasonable quantity. Otherwise, you are simply contributing the manufacturer's profits. Keep your eyes open for coupons and special deals and read those labels!

If you have questions about loratadine, ask your doctor.

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