I never had allergies as a child. When I got married and moved to West Virginia, I was suddenly bombarded with itchy eyes and a stuffy nose. I thoroughly expected that once I moved back to Missouri, all that would go away. Clearly it was West Virginia I was allergic to, right? Wrong.
After trying various allergy pills and sprays, I've found that Wal-mart's Equate brand Loratadine (which is the active ingredient in Claratin) works great for me. I take the 24 hour kind in the mornings. Every once in a while I start to think my allergies have eased up, and I'll stop taking it for a few days, but the symptoms always flare up again.
A couple months ago I ran out of my allergy medicine, and I happened to be at K-mart, so I decided to just grab some there. Any chance to avoid Wal-mart is a chance I like to take! So I bought a bottle of K-mart's Smart Sense (their generic brand) Loratadine. I figured, same active ingredient, it will be the same, right? Wrong.
I took this for a few weeks, and when spring allergy season came around, I began waking up every single morning with puffy, itchy eyes. I kept thinking it was this new facial cleanser I'd bought, or maybe the new eye cream? Or maybe the fact that I was sleeping with the windows open? But I changed each thing that I thought might be the culprit, and nothing was helping my eye situation. They even started bothering me during the day.
Then I ran out of medicine again, and this time, I bought my old faithful Equate brand. And guess what? The next morning, no puffy eyes. They haven't been back.
So, I've concluded that all generics are not the same. I plan to stick with the one that has worked for me for years, and I will never again buy another brand.