I have been experiencing terrible allergy symptoms and a runny nose, and my doctor prescribed Veramyst. I squirt this in my nose. It’s too expensive ($102!), so I can’t continue it. Is there an alternative?
S.G., Silver Spring, Maryland
Answer: You and 40 million Americans have to deal with allergies and most people opt for over-the-counter antihistamines like Zyrtec or Claritin. A month’s supply costs about $20, even less if you opt for store brand generics. Veramyst, the prescription medication you refer to is an inhalable steroid that you squirt up the nose and, yes, you do have alternatives.
Veramyst is the newest allergy drug and it’s heavily promoted. It’s a man-made steroid that works in the lining of the nose and helps reduce swelling and all the misery associated with allergies. Its older cousins include Rhinocort, Nasalide, Nasacort, Nasonex and Flonase. These should be cheaper because they are older or they have a generic available.
As a matter of fact, Flonase (fluticasone propionate) is virtually identical to Veramyst (fluticasone furoate). The generic copy of Flonase only costs about $65 compared to Veramyst, which is $100 or more for a month’s supply. While Veramyst holds the advantage of once-daily dosing, its expensive price tag means that people on a budget may go without medicine altogether. In your case, have your physician call in a new prescription for Flonase. Because your pharmacy can dispense this drug in its generic form, you may be able to afford it.
Suzy Cohen, has been a licensed pharmacist for over 30 years and believes the best approach to chronic illness is a combination of natural medicine and conventional. She founded her own dietary supplement company specializing in custom-formulas, some of which have patents. With a special focus on functional medicine, thyroid health and drug nutrient depletion, Suzy is the author of several related books including Thyroid Healthy, Drug Muggers, Diabetes Without Drugs, and a nationally syndicated column.