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Allergic rhinitis is one of the most common medical disorders,
affecting one in five Americans, and it ranks as the sixth most
prevalent chronic condition in the United States. Allergies are
a year-long battle for millions of Americans. While seasonal
allergies are negated in colder temperatures, indoor allergies
are ever-present and can be further exacerbated in the winter
when people spend more time indoors.
An allergy is defined as an unusual sensitivity to a normally
harmless substance that provokes a strong reaction from
a person’s body. The result is nasal allergy symptoms –
congestion, sneezing, and itchy or runny nose. Common
examples of inhaled allergens are airborne pollens from
plants and trees, mold spores, and dog and cat dander.
Asthma is also an inflammatory disorder of the airways, but
unlike allergic rhinitis, asthma affects the lungs. About 5
percent of the American population – 15 million people –
has asthma. Asthma is the most common chronic disease of
children, affecting one in every seven. It can be triggered by a
wide range of agents and events, from aspirin to anxiety.
Allergic rhinitis can be controlled with a variety of
antihistamines and decongestants to decrease symptoms.
Inhaled nasal steroids, with their predominantly local affect,
can often delay or eliminate symptoms completely if taken
before they begin. The pharmacist, using his experience and
knowledge, can sort through and eliminate ineffective or
contraindicated medications, contributing greatly to making
the patient’s pharmacotherapy more effective.
The Allergy category has been in turmoil
for the past several years. The many
product recalls from a major manufacturer
is one of the challenges this category has
had to face.
In 2011, Allegra® (fexofenadine HCI)
and Allegra-D® (fexofenadine HCI/
pseudoephedrine HCI) became available
without a prescription. With an estimated
Allegra® patient count of around 7.8 million
in 2008, and 23 million fexofenadine
prescription transactions, retail cold and allergy aisles will
continue to see an influx of consumers looking for these
popular allergy medications. Leader® Brand introduced two
SKUs of Leader® Aller-Ease Tablets which are comparable to
the Allegra® SKUs. Leader® also introduced an All Day Allergy
Liquid for children that is comparable to Zyrtec®, and Allergy
Relief Tablets comparable to Alavert® and Claritin®. These
products give your customers an alternative to the higher
priced national brands and should sell well in your store.
Some consumers are switching to allergy brands, such as
Hyland’s®, that are homeopathic. Recent recalls and concerns
over children’s medications have led them to try these natural
products. Bringing attention to these products with shelf signs
can help those consumers looking for natural items.
Private Label, PediaCare®, Triaminic®, and Dimetapp® are
some of the products that have taken over the shelf space
for the brands that have been recalled. These products
have experienced sales increases as consumers look for
substitutions for the recalled products.
Who shops the category?
The Allergy category is a needs-based category. Consumers
should purchase an allergy product at the first sign of an attack
or when their allergy symptoms are in their peak stages. Most
Americans experience multiple allergy episodes each year.
An estimated 50 million Americans suffer from allergies, with
80 percent having primarily airborne allergies.
New items in 2012
Manufacturers in the Allergy category will continue to
innovate and introduce new items to help consumers manage
The allergy “toolbox”
Heavy sufferers should use a “toolbox” approach to manage
allergy symptoms. This “toolbox” consists of OTCs, Rxs
and non-medicated products.
Within traditional OTC
Eye care products
Breathe Right Strips
Other items purchased
Cooling face mask
Cold air mask
Dye-free laundry detergent
With approximately 104 million people or 46 percent of the
from allergies, only
71 million people
actually treat their
60 percent of allergy
sufferers are women,
with no age skew or
race skew involved. *
An allergy is a specific reaction of the body’s immune system
to a normally harmless substance in the environment (allergen,
antigen). The allergen binds to IgE on a mast cell, causing the
release of histamine. Once histamine is released, it binds with
the H1 receptor, causing allergy symptoms.
Routes of exposure that lead to an allergic reaction can be
inhalation, skin contact, ingestion and injection. Inhalation
examples could include pollen, dust, mold, mildew and animal
dander while skin contact could be poisonous plants, animal
scratches, pollen and latex. Ingestion could include medication,
nuts or shellfish, and injection could be a bee sting. It’s
interesting that 95 percent of sufferers are allergic to hay fever,
pollen and grasses while dust and mites affect approximately
63 percent. Approximately 36 percent of sufferers are allergic to
mold and our loveable pets produce symptoms in 34 percent of
allergy sufferers. **
So why are some people allergic? There are several reasons.
One may be genetic. Some people inherit a tendency to
have allergies. Others may be allergic because they have
other allergies, such as food allergies. Another reason may be
exposure to allergens when body’s defenses are lowered or
weakened (after illness or during pregnancy) which seems to
contribute to the development of allergies.
Allergy symptoms can affect many areas, but the most popular
are itchy nose or throat, itchy eyes, sneezing and runny nose.
Many people are occasionally confused if they have a cold or an
allergy since these two have many similarities. Some differences
• Colds can take a few days to appear after infection with a virus
and colds typically last 3-14 days
• Allergy symptoms can begin immediately after exposure and
allergies last as long as exposed to the allergen
Here are some symptoms listed below as they relate to colds
*unless secondary infection
Sometimes complications do occur due to allergies, especially
if untreated. Some of these complications could be: headache,
toothache, asthma, sinusitis (sinus infection), ear infection and
bronchial infection. The allergy sufferer, working together with
their physician, can decide the best way to treat the allergy.
With so many treatments available, over-the-counter as well as
prescription, a treatment plan can be tailor made for the sufferer.
*Gallup Oct. 2009 among adults
**Gallup Oct. 2009 among adults and allergy medicine users
Article presented by: Chattem
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