A Natural Alternative Supplement for Allergies: My Experience with Zyrtec
Allergies have been a prominent part of my life for over 10 years. Taking medications that aren’t designed to be taken long term, especially for something non-life threatening, isn’t something I’m happy to do. I prefer to deal with illness and healing as naturally as possible.
After a bad experience with Zyrtec after taking both it and Sudafed daily for years, I decided to turn to a more natural alternative. I ended up finding D-HIST, an amazing natural alternative allergy supplement that manages my terrible allergy symptoms even better than Zyrtec.
If you’re looking for help with allergy symptoms, this may be your answer! I’ve found them to provide relief from allergy symptoms like itchy and watery eyes as well as sinus congestion, pressure and headaches.
(This post contains affiliate links. This means that I’ll earn a small commission from any purchases made through these links at no additional cost to you!)
Please note that I am NOT a doctor and this is not medical advice. This is my account and a suggestion for you to consider based on my personal experience. Please consult your doctor if you are currently taking Zyrtec and would like to make a change or consider the alternatives I’ve used.
Update 7/19/20: Recently, the demand for D-HIST has caused the price to go up a fair amount. It’s still doable, but I have great news for those who just couldn’t justify the cost. I found an alternative!
I have been using Histamine Shield Plus by Wellsource and it has worked just as well. I’ve had no side effects and they even have a kids version, Histamine Shield Plus for Kids, which I recently purchased for my son!
The ingredients are virtually identical and it more cost effective at the time of this writing!
I’ve had sinus and skin issues my entire life. Apparently, they were all from allergies.
As a kid, my sinuses were always congested. I caught colds easily. Then, around age 12, I developed eczema. It wasn’t until I was 19, though, that the cause of these problems was identified as allergies. I developed a terrible bout of allergic conjunctivitis and the eczema suddenly came back and was unbearable. The symptoms were non-stop and completely uncontrollable. My doctor suspected allergies and told me to start taking Zyrtec. Immediately, the symptoms started to get under control. Every day I continued to take the pills, never questioning the medication. I was happy to get back to a normal life after the few months of great discomfort I’d experienced.
A few years later, I started having terrible headaches. They were constant and weren’t always resolved with pain killers. I made another trip to the doctor and this time he suggested that I see an allergist to identify my allergies and see if they were the culprit. It never occurred to me, and wasn’t suggested, that this should’ve been done long before!
As it turns out, I am allergic to mold, dogs, tree pollen, and ragweed. Indoor, outdoor, seasonal, and constant; I basically couldn’t avoid them if I tried. The allergist suggested immunotherapy (allergy injections) to retrain my body to not overreact to the allergens. I continued the Zyrtec and added Sudafed to my daily medications to keep the constant sinus and ear infections at bay. It was a combination that worked until the immunotherapy took effect.
After two years of injections, I had no relief. After a third year, my allergist retired and I had to start seeing a new one. Since it had been so long and I was showing no improvement, he suggested I take another allergy test. The second test confirmed that there was a type of mold I wasn’t being treated for and that I should also be getting cat since cat/dog allergies are common together. I embarked on beginning another round of immunotherapy that started with a four-hour therapy session that included six injections spaced out over the four hours.
Update: After two more years, I was still taking Sudafed, though in smaller quantities, on a regular basis. The immunotherapy didn’t seem to be working. At least, not well enough to continue paying the high cost for it. So I stopped going. My eyes don’t water or get itchy anymore, but I still get headaches and my skin still breaks out. The eczema hasn’t returned, yet.
It’s been years since I stopped getting injections, and I think they did help, but they definitely didn’t “cure” me. So I do still have to turn to some sort of allergy relief to avoid the headaches.
That second allergy test brought about a new discovery…and a lot of itching.
For anyone who hasn’t had an allergy test, the first step is that you must stop taking all allergy medications for a specified amount of time before your test. I’ve heard of some doctors that request one to two weeks without medication. At the beginning of my second allergy test, I had to be off Zyrtec for three days. About 12 hours into those three days, I started to experience intense itching all over my body. This had happened once before.
A few years prior, I tried cutting back on my Zyrtec. It had been quite a while since I started taking them and I still hadn’t seen an allergist so I didn’t know what I was allergic to yet. I ran out of pills and just didn’t get more so I decided to wait and see what happened. I didn’t like the idea of being on medication non-stop and I really had no idea what had caused my allergies to suddenly flare up so unexpectedly when I was 19. For all I knew, it could have been a complete fluke and perhaps I was no longer in need of the pills.
After a few days off the pills, I started to get itchy all over. One of the people I worked with at the time, a man who had experienced more than his fair share of health problems, told me I really needed to see an allergist and get back on my pills. He worried that the itching may be a sign that the allergies were worsening.
Since I didn’t know what I was allergic to, he was concerned that I could potentially put myself into a situation where an anaphylactic reaction could occur. It was enough to scare me into taking them again. Immediately, the itching subsided and then disappeared. I took this as a sign that he was correct. I needed to be on those pills!
What can I take for allergies that isn’t Zyrtec and Sudafed??
When this happened prior to my allergy test the second time, I did some research. My concerns over taking a medication long-term had grown over the years. My chiropractor suggested D-HIST by Ortho Molecular Product, a natural allergy pill that worked quite well. But they were potentially unsafe to take while pregnant due to the Bromelain enzyme they contain, so I ultimately went back to the Zyrtec when I began trying to conceive.
What I discovered through my research is that I was not alone. Many people who take Zyrtec for any extended period of time find that when they stop taking it, they immediately experience intense itching all over. People refer to it as a withdrawal symptom.
I quit Zyrtec immediately and switched back to D-HIST.
I wanted to know if what I was experiencing was caused by my allergies or a reaction to denying my body the medication I’d been taking for 10 years. After my allergy test, I refused to take any Zyrtec the allergist tried to give me and took the Claritin and Allegra he offered instead. I bought D-HIST and continued to take Sudafed. After a fairly intense two weeks, the itching gradually subsided. I haven’t touched it since.
D-HIST also works wonderfully for my sinuses, unlike Zyrtec, so I was able to stop taking Sudafed as well. I experienced no itching, no drowsiness, no sinus headaches or pressure, and no ear infections. On top of that, I could take it while nursing.
Although Zyrtec and Sudafed are both technically “okay” according to doctors to take while breastfeeding, I was never comfortable with it. However, D-HIST wasn’t always an option because of the cost due to the number of pills I personally need to take to get relief. So I had been taking them despite my concerns.
You can get a standard bottle of 120 pills on Amazon for around $40 (although the price does fluctuate). Some people get relief from just one or two pills per day. Unfortunately, due to the severity of my sinus issues, I have to take at least three per day most days of the year. My allergens are year-round so I never really get a period of relief. There are certain times during the year (high ragweed seasons) where I can need up to six pills per day in order to need no other medication. Although it works amazingly, it does get a little more expensive for me during those times of the year.
Cost is no longer my primary concern when it comes to controlling my allergies.
D-HIST proved to be an effective medication for all of my allergic reactions. It had always been difficult to find one that did it all. None of the conventional allergy pills did anything for my sinuses. And obviously, Sudafed did nothing for my eczema. I was happy to find a medicine that covered both. It served as a great Zyrtec alternative as well as Sudafed alternative!
It was also great to find a medicine that didn’t feel like a medicine. The capsules are made out of plants and foods, not drugs. And they are highly effective. I could take it during late pregnancy when my doctor wasn’t worried about the Bromelain. High dosages of Bromelain are linked to uterine contractions, however, there doesn’t seem to be a standard that constitutes as “high dosage.” Even the doctor couldn’t tell me; she figured it was probably safe but wasn’t certain so she advised against it to be sure.
Here are the ingredients in two capsules of Ortho Molecular Products D-Hist (the brand I use) at the time of publishing:
Vitamin C (as Ascorbic Acid USP)-300mg
Stinging Nettles Leaf-400mg
Bromelain (from pineapple)(2,400 GDU/g)-100mg
N-Acetyl Cysteine USP-50mg
The Zyrtec side effects are not exclusive to me.
Since I stopped taking Zyrtec, I have read about lots of other side effects people experience that they don’t realize are side effects until after they stop taking the drug. Some symptoms occur while they’re actively taking the drug and others show up as withdrawal type symptoms. Several accounts have noted itching far worse and for far longer than I did. Also listed among side effects were hives, change in blood pressure, and nausea.
There are tons of blogs and consumer websites out there where people have been writing about their experiences for years with Zyrtec and the withdrawal of it. One such site is Consumer Affairs. It has over 337 complaints about Zyrtec from users and averages a less than 2 star rating out of 5 (193 of the reviews are 1 star).
There are many, many other personal accounts. Simply type Zyrtec and itching or Zyrtec withdrawal into any search engine. It’s amazing the number of stories that pop up.
Surprisingly, you won’t find anything about these symptoms on the manufacturer or brand websites. Despite several people stating they’ve contacted the company about their itching, it is still not listed as a symptom of stopping the drug. I’ve seen lots of instances in which people have been told that it’s “not possible” to have a withdrawal from an antihistamine. I’ll leave that up to you to decide.
I’m just one more account providing my experience and an alternative.
Before you stop taking Zyrtec, please consider this.
If you’ve been told to take Zyrtec for your allergies by your doctor and would like to stop, I suggest first speaking with the doctor that prescribed it. Some doctors are very receptive to alternative options.
Both my general practitioner and allergist gave the okay to take any substitute that I felt comfortable with that worked for me. My allergist, in fact, strongly encouraged me to continue taking the D-HIST since it works for me. I, however, do not have life threatening allergies and there are no underlying reasons for which the doctor prescribed Zyrtec originally.
If you have severe allergies that could cause potentially life threatening situations for you, please DO NOT stop taking your prescribed allergy medication without speaking with your doctor. If your doctor isn’t receptive but you still feel as though stopping is the best option for you, you can always get a second opinion.
Naturopathic and homeopathic doctors may be the type of doctor you want to seek out as they are best equipped to deal with a patient’s request to try solutions outside of conventional medication. Check with your health insurance provider to see if there are any in your area and find one that has good reviews.
How I quit Zyrtec and you can too!
So you have the approval from your doctor and are ready to stop taking Zyrtec. Or maybe you casually take it and you want to try an alternative. Great! Then it’s time to get started.
Unless your doctor advises otherwise, the best way to stop is to go cold-turkey. Cutting pills in half and spacing them out only prolongs the amount of time that the medication is in your body. Every time you take that next dose, no matter how far you space it out, you’re renewing your body’s dependence on it. It’s a smaller amount, but it’s still something. I started out this way, and it did not work as well.
You could compare this to breastfeeding; the best way to stop is to wean, but then stop when you’re ready. If you continue to remove milk when you feel full, you’re going to signal to your body that you need the milk, even if it’s just a little (although a little is better than a lot). Completely stopping indicates to your body that you no longer have any need for the milk whatsoever. While uncomfortable, the engorgement does subside (unless you’ve experienced mastitis or other nursing problems, in which case, cold turkey may not be right for you, personally). The process is a little more difficult, or uncomfortable, but it is over with much faster.
You want to send the signal to your body that you’re done. Let it go through it’s itching and get all of that medication out. It will be rough, I won’t deny it. You could experience days to weeks to possibly months of intense itching, hives, or any other number of side effects. Again, PLEASE CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR before you begin. Always better to be safe than sorry.
If you absolutely can’t quit cold-turkey, then space the pills out. Some people don’t like the idea of quitting altogether and others just can’t tolerate the side-effects and need some relief. That’s fine. Just know it will take longer for the effects to subside.
Everyone is different so not every method will work for everyone. Here are a couple of methods:
Faster method: Cut down from one pill a day to a half pill every day. Taper off from there with a half pill every other day. Then every third day.
Slower method: Cut down from one pill a day to a whole pill every other day. Taper off from there by going to a half pill every other day. Then a half pill every third day.
Be prepared. You can try using over the counter creams for skin conditions that may flare up during the transition. Icing a particular itchy area can also help to reduce itching. Make sure that if you’re prone to skin issues, you avoid scratching as much as possible.
Again, it’s imperative that you talk to your doctor. If they suspect that you may have more severe issues, like eczema flare-ups or hives, they can let you know in advance how to best deal with those issues should they arise. There are other options to take care of each individual issue while working through this!
Begin taking the D-HIST immediately after stopping Zyrtec. This will ensure that your body continues to have something helping you fight off the allergic reactions. It won’t help with any effects you experience due to cutting out the Zyrtec, but it will cover symptoms from your normal allergens.
Although I’m specifically identifying Zyrtec as a drug I feel you should eliminate if you can, you can substitute D-HIST for any of the allergy drugs. If you just want to go more natural, it is a safe and natural alternative for most people, recommended by doctors and allergists.
Accept that there is a possibility it may not work for you. Just like conventional allergy medications, D-HIST may not work for you. You may find that you don’t get complete relief or any relief at all. It’s not uncommon for someone to use Claritin because Zyrtec doesn’t work for them, or vice versa.
However, the benefits of getting off conventional medication and onto something a little more natural, and with less of an addictive property, make it worth trying. If you find that it doesn’t work for you, you can always go back to Zyrtec, or whatever medication you were using. At least you tried!
What do you have to lose?
I never thought that I would get complete relief from a product that isn’t actually a medicine. Not with how terrible my symptoms were. I knew I couldn’t take Sudafed and Zyrtec forever. And I knew I couldn’t take Sudafed while I was pregnant. So I took a chance. And I’m so glad that I did.
What I found was an amazing product that has helped so many people make the switch to a more natural remedy. This product is also highly recommended by industry professionals, like my allergist and chiropractor.
If you’re hesitant, I suggest reading through the hundreds of online reviews and checking with a few doctors. Sometimes, we have to step outside of our comfort zone to live better. One of the ways I try to live better is to live more naturally.
I don’t want to take medication every day, but the reality of my situation is that my life would be a nightmare if I didn’t take something for my allergies. I’ve found D-HIST to be that balance between constantly medicating and living in constant discomfort. I think if you give it a try, you’ll find the same thing.
No matter what allergy medication you take, D-HIST is a great, more natural alternative. While I personally would choose Claritin over Zyrtec, I choose D-HIST hands down over any conventional allergy medication. It works great for all of my environmental allergies and covers all of my symptoms from my sinus issues to my skin issues.
D-HIST allows me to feel more comfortable with my allergies now that I don’t have to take various drugs every day to control the symptoms. It’s a great decongestant for allergies and a natural allergy medicine that helps me handle all of my symptoms.
Taking control of my health and wellness is important to me. If it’s important to you as well, I highly suggest trying D-HIST out.
Have you ever tried D-HIST before? How did it work for you?
Have you ever had any negative experiences with Zyrtec or any other conventional allergy medication?
Tell me about it!
-To your Better Life-
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