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As an extreme discounter, Dollar Tree tends to sell a lot of things in small packages. Sometimes this is a good deal for the consumer, and sometimes it isn’t. After all, if you’re paying a lot per ounce for a product, it doesn’t help as much that the product is small. On the other hand, if the package is small and the per ounce price is small, you’re getting a much better deal.
Part of my job, as a product reviewer, is to try and figure out if the small package is still a good deal.
DT sells a fairly wide variety of over-the-counter (OTC) medications. Some of them are name brands, like Advil and Tylenol, while others are lesser known brands. I haven’t yet seen any private label Dollar Tree pills — like products with Greenbrier International on them — but I have seen some medicines that are found in few, if any, other places.
One of those is antihistamines, which are used to treat allergies. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, over 50 million Americans experience allergies at some point during the course of the year. Many allergies are seasonal, due to mold, pollen, and other things in the air. Different seasons can bring different kinds of allergies.
Antihistamines work by decreasing the amount of a substance in your body called a histamine, which is tied to allergic reactions. In the medical world, there are what are called first-generation and second generation antihistamines. Both are effective at allergy relief. One advantage of second-generation antihistamines is that they often (but not always) are less likely to cause certain side-effects such as drowsiness. It depends, though, so, as with any medicine, you should always read the label carefully.
ValuHealth Allergy Relief is actually one of three different products Dollar Tree carries, and each refers to a different allergy medicine. All are $1.25.
According to the packaging, these medicines are distributed by Spirit Pharmaceuticals, LLC, based out of New York. The packaging I saw said the medicines were made in India. Spirit Pharmaceuticals also sells allergy medications under the ValuMeds label, which can be found at various online retailers, including Walmart and Target.
The Pink Bottle
ValuHealth Allergy Relief in the pink bottle is diphenhydramine HCL. Most people know it as the the generic version of Benadryl. The box says it can be compared to Benadryl Ultratabs. This particular medicine was created in the 1940s and has been available without a prescription since the 1980s. It’s a first-generation antihistamine and has potential side effects, including drowsiness. In fact, drowsiness is enough of a side-effect that some people consider it as a sleep aid. That’s a big reason why you should never take this pill with alcohol.
The pink bottle has 36 tablets. That comes out to about 3.4 cents a tablet. For comparison, Walmart sells a generic Benadryl for about 2 cents a pill, while brand-name Benadryl Ultratabs are closer to 12 cents a pill. You have to buy a lot more pills to get the Walmart price, though, so all in all this Dollar Tree bottle is a pretty good value.
The Green Package
ValuHealth All Day Allergy Relief in the green package is cetirizine, the generic version of Zyrtec, and the box it says it can be compared to Zyrtec. This drug was created in 1981 and was approved for over-the-counter use without a prescription in 2007. It is a second-generation antihistamine, although like many first-generation medicines, drowsiness is a potential side-effect.
The green package has 14 tablets, which comes out to about 9 cents a tablet. For comparison, Walmart also sells a generic Zyrtec for about 23 cents a pill, while brand-name Zyrtec runs 67 cents a tablet. From a simple price perspective, this Dollar Tree pill is a fraction of the cost of the 10 mg tablets you can get in other places.
The Purple Package
ValuHealth Allergy Relief in the purple package is fexofenadine HCL, the generic version of Allegra, and the box says it can be compared to Allegra. This drug was created in 1979, was put into medical use in the 1990s, and has been available as a generic drug since 2011. It is a second-generation antihistamine and is less likely to cause drowsiness than many other antihistamines, which makes it a popular option for allergies.
This package comes with 4 pills, which comes out to 31 cents a pill. For comparison, Walmart’s generic version of this medicine costs about 34 cents a pill, and you have to buy 60 tablets to get that price. Allegra itself varies widely, with a pack of 30 tablets running 60 cents each. This is one of the more economical versions of this medicine I can find.
From a price point perspective, all three of these allergy medicines are inexpensive per pill compared to other options out there, which is especially interesting considering that they all come in small packages. The difference in price was especially evident with the green generic Zyrtec pills, but all of them are cheaper than what I could find at Walmart, even with larger Walmart bottles. If you’re looking for cheap antihistamines, Dollar Tree might be worth a look. Just don’t forget to read the directions on the box carefully.