News | January 27, 2011

U.S. FDA Approves Number One U.S. Prescribed Allergy Treatment Allegra For Over-The-Counter Use

Allegra family of products to be available without a prescription across the U.S. this spring allergy season

Sanofi-aventis U.S., and its U.S. Consumer Healthcare Division, Chattem, Inc., announced recently that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the Allegra family of allergy medication products for over-the-counter (OTC) use in adults and children two years of age and older. Additionally, Allegra-D, which also relieves nasal congestion and sinus pressure, will be available without a prescription at the pharmacy counter for use in adults and children 12 years of age and older. Allegra and Allegra-D will be available in March 2011 in their original prescription strengths without a prescription.

"As an allergist, I'm often addressing my patients' concerns about treating their allergy symptoms with a medicine that can relieve their symptoms quickly and doesn't make them tired or groggy," said Eli Meltzer, MD, Co-director Allergy & Asthma Medical Group and Research Center, San Diego, CA. "The availability of the Allegra family of products over the counter will provide my patients with the same effective relief they've received from prescription Allegra for many years, now without a prescription."

Over 40 million adults suffer from indoor and outdoor allergies in the United States. Allegra offers fast, non-drowsy, 24-hour relief of allergy symptoms: sneezing; runny nose; itchy, watery eyes; and itchy nose or throat. Allegra has provided allergy sufferers with relief of symptoms for nearly 15 years.

"Leveraging our U.S. Consumer Healthcare platform to convert prescription medicines to OTC products is a key growth driver for sanofi-aventis to become a diversified healthcare company also in the United States," said Hanspeter Spek, President, Global Operations, sanofi-aventis. "The approval of Allegra for OTC use further validates our vision to increase our presence in the U.S. consumer healthcare market."

"We're pleased to provide U.S. consumer access to Allegra, the number one U.S.-prescribed allergy treatment, allowing allergy sufferers to conveniently obtain a safe and effective medication without a prescription," said Zan Guerry, Chief Executive Officer, Chattem.

The Allegra family of OTC products will be available without a prescription for allergy sufferers in drug, grocery, mass merchandiser and club stores nationwide. This includes Allegra 24-Hour and 12-Hour Tablets for adults and children 12 years of age and older; Children's Allegra 12-Hour Tablets for six years of age and older, and Liquid for use in two years of age and older; Children's Allegra 12-Hour Orally Disintegrating Tablets for use in six years of age and older; and Allegra-D 24-Hour and 12-Hour Allergy and Congestion Extended Release Tablets (with a decongestant) for use in children 12 years of age and older.

People can visit for more information. If allergy sufferers have additional questions, they should talk to their allergist, pharmacist or other healthcare provider.

About Allergies
Millions of Americans suffer from allergies. Allergies are caused when a person's body overreacts to substances called "allergens." These substances are often referred to as triggers. People can experience allergy triggers anytime throughout the year. Symptoms may include sneezing; runny nose; itchy; watery eyes; and itchy nose or throat. With proper management and patient education, allergy symptoms can be relieved.

About Sanofi-aventis
Sanofi-aventis U.S. is an affiliate of sanofi-aventis, a leading global pharmaceutical company that discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions to help improve the lives of patients. Sanofi-aventis is listed in Paris and in New York. For more information, visit or

About Chattem
In March 2010, Chattem, Inc. became a wholly-owned subsidiary of the sanofi-aventis Group; as the consumer healthcare division of sanofi-aventis in the U.S. Chattem is approximately 130 years old and is a leading manufacturer and marketer of branded consumer healthcare products, toiletries and dietary supplements across niche market segments in the United States. For more information, visit

SOURCE: Sanofi-aventis