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Johnson & Johnson, ''the world's most comprehensive and broadly based manufacturer of health care products,'' has received FDA approval for allergy medicine Zyrtec-D to be sold over-the-counter. However, because the drug contains pseudoephedrine, a substance that can be used to make methamphetamine, Zyrtec will be kept behind the counter at drugstores, requiring customers to show ID in order to obtain the product.

According to an article on Forbes.com, "Johnson & Johnson acquired the drug last year from Pfizer through the purchase of its consumer health care business."

The medication treats both indoor and outdoor allergy symptoms as well as "itching due to chronic hives," says the Zyrtec website. Zyrtec accommodates the whole family with both tablets and chewable tablets that treat adults, children as young as two years of age, and infants as young as six months.

On Nov. 9, 2007, the Food and Drug Administration approved the nonprescription drug, which combines an antihistamine with a nasal decongestant. It is designed to "reduce swollen nasal passages, relieve sinus congestion and pressure, and restore freer breathing through the nose," says WebMD.com.

And according to Andrew Leonard-Segal, MD, "The approval of this widely used drug for nonprescription use will enable many people to have access to another effective treatment for their allergy symptoms."

About 50 million people in the U.S suffer from hay fever and other allergies, which are ranked sixth among the leading chronic diseases.

The drug should be avoided by people with severe heart or blood pressure problems. Those with an overactive thyroid gland, diabetes, glaucoma, or an enlarged prostate gland should be wary when taking Zyrtec. Side effects that may occur include dry mouth, fatigue, insomnia, and sleepiness.

McNeil Consumer Healthcare distributes Zyrtec-D.
On the net:Johnson & Johnson


McNeil Consumer Healthcare
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