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Old 26.05.2020, 07:56
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Over the counter allergy medicine in Switzerland

Hello,

I don’t know about you, but the current high grass pollen levels are crippling me.

I think I need to add a nasal steroid to my prescription list. Do you know if any are available over the counter like in my home country? I tried asking yesterday at the pharmacy and they looked at me like I was insane and tried to offer homeopathic crud (I already take various homeopathic stuff which helps moderately, but come on...sometimes you need more.) I do know with enough push, you can get what you need over the counter here if you have to correct names. (Flonase/fluticasone didn’t seem to be known.)

I have written to my GP last week, who is on vacation and would like to have something as soon as possible.

For other allergy sufferers on this thread, I have purchased Claritin over the counter and Benocten (i.e. US version of Benadryl) which is actually sold as a sleeping aid here.

Thanks for your help!

Last edited by Susie-Q; 26.05.2020 at 08:28.
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Old 26.05.2020, 08:04
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Re: Over the counter allergy medicine in Switzerland

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Hello,

I donít know about you, but the current high grass pollen levels are crippling me.

I think I need to add a nasal steroid to my prescription list. Do you know if any are available over the counter like in my home country? I tried asking yesterday at the pharmacy and they looked at me like I was insane and tried to offer homeopathic crud (I already take various homeopathic stuff which helps moderately, but come on...sometimes you need more.) I do know with enough push, you can get what you need over the counter here if you have to correct names. (Flonase/fluticasone didnít seem to be known.)

I have written to my GP last week, who is on vacation and would like to have something as soon as possible.

For other allergy sufferers on this thread, I have purchased Claritin over the counter and Benocten (I.e. Benadryl) which is actually sold as a sleeping aid here.

Thanks for your help!
I tend to ask for Oxymetazoline (jsut a decongestant), and that works pretty well when combined with an (oral) antihistamine and antihistamine eye-drops.

That said, Sanofi make this:
https://www.allergo.ch/it/nasacort.html
which I'm going to try if it gets as bad as it did the other day...
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Old 26.05.2020, 09:55
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Re: Over the counter allergy medicine in Switzerland

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I tried asking yesterday at the pharmacy and they looked at me like I was insane
My wife had this last week when asking for specific things that you would be able to buy very easily in the UK. Only certain things work for her and, unfortunately, they are on the "you have to get these via a doctor" list here - it's not you :-(
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Old 26.05.2020, 10:13
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Re: Over the counter allergy medicine in Switzerland

I had the same issue. I take Loratadine (Claritin) daily, but right now it doesn't help. I used to take Flonase in the US as well, but all mine were super expired, so I just emailed my doctor and he sent me a script for avamys, and I have to say it's been working wonders!!!

so - long story short - NO, you need a prescription for most, but at least for me it was just an email to my doctor.
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Old 26.05.2020, 10:16
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Re: Over the counter allergy medicine in Switzerland

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I had the same issue. I take Loratadine (Claritin) daily, but right now it doesn't help. I used to take Flonase in the US as well, but all mine were super expired, so I just emailed my doctor and he sent me a script for avamys, and I have to say it's been working wonders!!!

so - long story short - NO, you need a prescription for most, but at least for me it was just an email to my doctor.
Yea, same she's great by email, but currently on a well deserved vacation and I'm desperate.

Happy to hear Avamys works for you, I will look into it.

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My wife had this last week when asking for specific things that you would be able to buy very easily in the UK. Only certain things work for her and, unfortunately, they are on the "you have to get these via a doctor" list here - it's not you :-(
Haha, I am used to it! Once I was out on the bike trails in heavy winds and a wasp literally flew into my mouth and stung my gum. The swelling was intense and I raced to the nearest pharmacy for some Diphenhydramine (Benadryl, US). The pharmacists were not at all sympathetic and kept muttering to each other "Amerikaner extreme" due to my request (Diphenhydramine is sold as a sleeping aid in CH.). I guess extreme dramatic swelling, which sadly also included a foaming at the mouth reaction, wasn't more extreme than what would be considered a basic medicine to buy in the US.
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Old 26.05.2020, 10:37
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Re: Over the counter allergy medicine in Switzerland

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Yea, same she's great by email, but currently on a well deserved vacation and I'm desperate.

Happy to hear Avamys works for you, I will look into it.



Haha, I am used to it! Once I was out on the bike trails in heavy winds and a wasp literally flew into my mouth and stung my gum. The swelling was intense and I raced to the nearest pharmacy for some Diphenhydramine (Benadryl, US). The pharmacists were not at all sympathetic and kept muttering to each other "Amerikaner extreme" due to my request (Diphenhydramine is sold as a sleeping aid in CH.). I guess extreme dramatic swelling, which sadly also included a foaming at the mouth reaction, wasn't more extreme than what would be considered a basic medicine to buy in the US.
You have noted that things are done differently here, I hope. They don't advertise prescription drugs on the telly either. Wonder why?
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Old 26.05.2020, 10:39
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Re: Over the counter allergy medicine in Switzerland

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...The swelling was intense and I raced to the nearest pharmacy for some Diphenhydramine (Benadryl, US). The pharmacists were not at all sympathetic and kept muttering to each other "Amerikaner extreme" due to my request (Diphenhydramine is sold as a sleeping aid in CH.). I guess extreme dramatic swelling, which sadly also included a foaming at the mouth reaction, wasn't more extreme than what would be considered a basic medicine to buy in the US.
And this is why I have a 300 count bottle of Benadryl from the states Anytime I go back I do a CVS or Walgreens run for the essentials.

Excedrin, Advil, Claritin, and Benadryl then maybe some cold and flu for good measure.

But seriously - when my allergies are really bad I just take a few Benadryl and pass out on the couch. The only thing that really helps sometimes.
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Old 26.05.2020, 10:48
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Re: Over the counter allergy medicine in Switzerland

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You have noted that things are done differently here, I hope. They don't advertise prescription drugs on the telly either. Wonder why?
Considering I work in healthcare compliance in the pharmaceutical industry, I do know why. Wanting an effective medicine for my illness (that is sold over the counter here), is not in the same topic of conversation.
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Old 26.05.2020, 13:56
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Re: Over the counter allergy medicine in Switzerland

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Hello,

I don’t know about you, but the current high grass pollen levels are crippling me.
I don't even get hay fever, yet my eyes sting after a period outside, so you have my sympathies.

Are there no drop-in clinics you can go to, to see a doctor and get a prescription at short notice?
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Old 26.05.2020, 14:06
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Re: Over the counter allergy medicine in Switzerland

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Are there no drop-in clinics you can go to, to see a doctor and get a prescription at short notice?
Thank-you. There definitely is, but I like to avoid places like that right now if I can due to COVID-19. Plus, it would be quite expensive.
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Old 26.05.2020, 15:33
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Re: Over the counter allergy medicine in Switzerland

Which symptoms are bothering you most right now?

I've found that the NeoSpirig or Xylo Mepha schnupfen spray does an excellent job on the sudden congestion that comes on and makes me want to sneeze for 20 minutes. But those sprays are like nasacort, so should not be used daily for long periods of time.

My ENT also had me try Yerbasin spray, which is herbal and does wonders for the dried out nasal passages that can happen when you take decongestants. Sometimes that does the trick instead of the other spray.

And finally the nasensable with peppermint oil and camphor helps me at night. The one I have now is the Nasensalbe RŁedi Spirig.

All of the above are available without prescription. I still have both claritin and benadryl on hand, but rarely need them with the other three. HTH
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Old 26.05.2020, 16:07
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Re: Over the counter allergy medicine in Switzerland

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I had the same issue. I take Loratadine (Claritin) daily, but right now it doesn't help. I used to take Flonase in the US as well, but all mine were super expired, so I just emailed my doctor and he sent me a script for avamys, and I have to say it's been working wonders!!!

so - long story short - NO, you need a prescription for most, but at least for me it was just an email to my doctor.
Interesting. I had avamys and as the stuff somehow runs down your throat after shooting it up your nose, I suffered from terrible heartburn and a sore throat. Stopped the moment I stopped with avamys.

Also if you suffer from cataract or glaucoma (and you may not know you do yet) you may absolutely not use avamys.

So make sure you get something that suits you personally from your doctor.
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Old 26.05.2020, 16:20
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Re: Over the counter allergy medicine in Switzerland

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Yea, same she's great by email, but currently on a well deserved vacation and I'm desperate.

Happy to hear Avamys works for you, I will look into it.

I have Avamys in my hand right now .. It has the medic B label though, probably requires a prescription.
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Old 26.05.2020, 16:47
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Re: Over the counter allergy medicine in Switzerland

Yes, it sucks. My wife had troubles with pollen a month ago. Hope you find peace soon.

First, this is the keyword to ask at the pharmacy: Heuschnupfen.

Do mention irritated eyes and throat, congested nose and sinus. Don't ever mention breathing problems or asthma because you'll get sent to the doctor.

Last year my wife used some pills named Fexo Pollen from Sandoz and they worked. This year this pills were not effective at all. I guess the mild winter was great for the grass, it did not die. So, we went to the pharmacy and got without a prescription some pills named Ceteco (also by Sandoz) and liquid for the eyes under the same name. These ones worked good. The active component is Cetirizin-Dihydrochlorid (DE).

There are differences among pharmacies. Once I only wanted these paracetamol bags for a simple cold (neocitran), I made the mistake to go to a Pharmacie Plus only to get spammed with homeopathic placebos. Then I went to a pharmacy in a train station where I got what I wanted without further questions.
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Old 26.05.2020, 16:56
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Re: Over the counter allergy medicine in Switzerland

we had recently an issue of severe allergic rash reaction (was not pollen though) but did some research.

Then I encountered some natural supplements that some people are happy with also for hay fever: echinacea, nettle, bromelain

I usually order such stuff from iherb but there are also quite of things sold in Switzerland
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Old 27.05.2020, 08:56
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Re: Over the counter allergy medicine in Switzerland

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Which symptoms are bothering you most right now?
Most troublesome symptom currently is nasal congestion, constant drip...it's so bad that I currently have facial swelling and look like a bloated alcoholic. I am unable to concentrate properly and sleep too because my body feels like it's at war with the pollen. Thanks for the tips! I do breath in some peppermint oil every night and take oregano oil to stave off a sinus infection too.

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There are differences among pharmacies. Once I only wanted these paracetamol bags for a simple cold (neocitran), I made the mistake to go to a Pharmacie Plus only to get spammed with homeopathic placebos. Then I went to a pharmacy in a train station where I got what I wanted without further questions.
Absolutely! I actually always try to go to the train station if I can, they seem to be the most straight forwards and have better opening hours. I do like that you have homeopathic options here...but in a dire situation, don't piss on my leg and tell me it's raining, right? Thanks for the tips!

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Then I encountered some natural supplements that some people are happy with also for hay fever: echinacea, nettle, bromelain

I usually order such stuff from iherb but there are also quite of things sold in Switzerland
You have to be careful with echinacea if you have a ragweed allergy. The best natural supplement I've taken for allergies is Quercitin...makes a big difference! I'm a very good customer of iHerb.
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Old 27.05.2020, 09:09
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Re: Over the counter allergy medicine in Switzerland

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Thank-you. There definitely is, but I like to avoid places like that right now if I can due to COVID-19. Plus, it would be quite expensive.
I used Medix Toujours in Basel - it was no more expensive than any other doctor I've used, and I was seen immediately. I don't know how they are right now, but certainly before the recent easing of restrictions, you had to make an appointment in advance and they maintained distancing.

But I do understand the reluctance to go out.

Last edited by NotAllThere; 27.05.2020 at 11:10.
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Old 27.05.2020, 10:00
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Re: Over the counter allergy medicine in Switzerland

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Most troublesome symptom currently is nasal congestion, constant drip...it's so bad that I currently have facial swelling and look like a bloated alcoholic. I am unable to concentrate properly and sleep too because my body feels like it's at war with the pollen...
Then I highly recommend the schnupfen spray. One spritz is all I need about 10 mins before bed and then I sleep MUCH better.
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Old 27.05.2020, 15:26
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Re: Over the counter allergy medicine in Switzerland

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That said, Sanofi make this:
https://www.allergo.ch/it/nasacort.html
which I'm going to try if it gets as bad as it did the other day...
FYI, went to get this at the pharmacy today and since January, it is no longer over the counter.

I was able to purchase it one time under a special condition and at an additional 7 CHF tax. At least it will hold me over till the doctor gets back from holiday.
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Old 27.05.2020, 16:21
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Re: Over the counter allergy medicine in Switzerland

hope it helps... I've read that it's ok to double the dose the first few days until things are under control. I'm American so I'm like yes! give me all the drugs! but others may be more careful .
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