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Cheap Hay Fever Tablets

Quickly slash the cost of hay fever remedies

By Rebecca | Edited by Steve N

Updated 6 Jan 2016


Hay fever is not to be sneezed at. Dust and pollen allergies can be hard on the pocket as well as the nose, so it's important you're getting the most meds for your money.

You can legally get exactly the same allergy relief for less than half the normal price. Find dirt-cheap generic equivalents of your hay fever medication, then cut the cost further with online deals.

How to find cheap tablets

Buying branded hay fever tablets is almost always more expensive. Yet if the active ingredient is the same, you're still buying the same product. When a company develops a drug, it is given unique rights to sell it for a number of years. Once the term ends, any company can make it, providing it meets the regulations.

Most over-the-counter drugs have identical medical properties regardless of brand.

The key thing is to find what the 'active' ingredient of your usual remedy is. Then buy the cheapest with the same ingredient.


The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) says: "Regardless of cost, and whether they are branded or generic, all medicines are made to the same standards, so you can be reassured your medicine is safe. Branded and generic products are the same if the dose of the drug and the formulation (eg, tablet or a liquid) are the same."

For more on this, read the 20+ Medicine Savings guide.

Quick warnings before you start

Once you've got the correct active ingredient, you're ready to sniff out a bargain. However, before taking any replacement tablets there are some important points to check...

Check the ingredients

Be careful with food or drug allergies

Check the use-by date

You'll need to fill out a questionnaire when buying online

Only shop at legitimate online pharmacies

If you know of any other reliable online pharmacies which undercut these, please report them here to let us know.

Cheap tablets: 90 for £4


The following are generally the cheapest suppliers for the main major brands (with the exception of Benadryl, as there are no generic versions available).

Prices change regularly so always check before you buy and remember this is just a guide; always check the packet of the remedy you commonly use to find the active ingredient.

Buying online won't be practical if you're in the middle of an attack so the high street might be your best bet. Shops such as Boots have own-brand and branded tablets on offer, so for the best deal always check the back of the packet and then go for the cheapest price.

Important: not all tablets are one-a-day. There are different types of drugs as we explain, but some tablets need to be taken more regularly than others so consider this when comparing cost. For example, 10 one-a-day tablets for £1 may seem more expensive than 10 tablets for 90p which you take every 4 hours, but the one-a-day tablets will last MUCH longer.

Prices updated 6 January 2016 from,,,, and Morrisons press office. Prices can fluctuate so always check before you buy 'em.


Zirtek equivalent – less than 5p a day


NHS description: Cetirizine is used to treat allergic conditions such as allergic rhinitis, hay fever and urticaria (an itchy lumpy rash). It is available as tablets which are taken by mouth.

Cheapest online deal: Chemist-4-U*

30 tablets for 69p + £1.99 delivered (90 tablets for £4.06 all-in).

  • Pack price: 69p/30 tablets.
  • Delivery price: £1.99 (free over £20).
  • Min order: None.
  • Max order: 12 packs.

More info on Cetirizine

Cheapest one-a-day tablets
Cheapest own brand in stores Cheapest branded tablets
Asda: £2.50 (30 tablets)
Boots: £2.99 (30 tablets)
Sainsbury's: £1.80 (14 tablets)
Superdrug: £3.99(1) (30 tablets)
Tesco: £2.50 (30 tablets)
Waitrose: £1.50 (14 tablets)

Asda: £9.90 (30 tablets)
Boots: £7.69 (30 tablets)
Sainsbury's: £5.50 (14 tablets)
Superdrug: £8.99 (30 tablets)
Tesco: £10 (30 tablets)
Waitrose: £4.50 (12 tablets)

(1) You must first fill out a form with the pharamcist

Clarityn equivalent – less than 5p a day


NHS description: Loratadine is an antihistamine. It blocks the effects of a chemical which causes symptoms of allergy such as itching and hay fever.

Cheapest online deal: Chemist-4-U*

30 tablets for 69p + £1.99 delivered (90 tablets for £4.06 all-in).

  • Pack price: 69p/30 tablets.
  • Delivery price: £1.99 (free over £20).
  • Min order: None.
  • Max order: 12 packs.

More info on Loratadine

Cheapest one-a-day tablets
Cheapest own brand in stores Cheapest branded tablets
Asda: £2.50 (30 tablets)
Boots: £7.69 (30 tablets)
Sainsbury's: £1.80 (14 tablets)
Superdrug: £3.99 (30 tablets)
Tesco: £1.50 (14 tablets)
Waitrose: £1.50 (14 tablets)

Asda: £2.96 (7 tablets)
Boots: £8.99 (30 tablets)
Sainsbury's: £5.50 (14 tablets)
Superdrug: £8.99 (30 tablets)
Tesco: £3 (7 tablets)
Waitrose: £3 (7 tablets)

(1) You must first fill out a form with the pharamcist

Piriton equivalent – 84 tablets for £4.06


NHS description: Chlorphenamine is an antihistamine which can be used to treat many types of allergies such as hay fever, food or medicine allergies, rhinitis, urticaria or insect bites. It is also used to treat itching that is caused by chicken pox.

Cheapest online deal: Chemist-4-U*

28 tablets for 69p + £1.99 delivered (84 tablets for £4.06 all-in)

  • Pack price: 69p/28 tablets.
  • Delivery price: £1.99 (free over £20).
  • Min order: None.
  • Max order: 50 packs

More info on Chlorphenamine

Cheapest tablets: taken every 4-6 hours
Cheapest own brand in stores Cheapest branded tablets
Boots: £5.89 (60 tablets)
Superdrug: £2.79 (30 tablets)
Boots: £6.39 (60 tablets)
Superdrug: £3.59 (30 tablets)

Benadryl – 12 tablets for £3.50

No generic equivalent, but you can get it for less

NHS description: Benadryl contains the active ingredient acrivastine. Acrivastine belongs to a group of medicines called antihistamines which help to reduce the symptoms of allergies such as redness, itching and swelling. Pseudoephedrine is a decongestant which reduces swelling inside the nose and helps ease breathing. It may cause dizziness and sleepiness.

Here, there are no generic equivalents, so it's all about getting the cheapest Benadryl in stores, if that's the one you want.

More info on Benadryl

Cheapest Benadryl (take up to three a day)
Cheapest own brand in stores Cheapest branded tablets (in price order)
N/A Asda: £3.50 (12 tablets)
Superdrug: £7.85 (24 tablets)
Boots: £7.89 (24 tablets)
Chemist-4-U: £5.99(1) (24 tablets)
Morrisons: £3.99 (12 tablets)
Waitrose: £4.40 (12 tablets)
Sainsbury's: £4.70 (12 tablets)
(1) Plus £1.99 delivery

Important! Ensure you know how to shop safely before trying these deals

  • For safety, pay by credit card if £100+

  • Protect purchases under £100

  • Use unfamiliar sites without checking

  • Let your antivirus run out

Full DOs and DONT's

Is it cheaper to get a prescription?

How cost-effective a prescription is depends on where you live:

Free prescriptions outside the UK
  • Live in Wales, Northern Ireland or Scotland? Here, prescriptions are free. Visit your GP to get your hay fever or allergy medication by prescription and you won't pay a penny. Try to get the longest supply you can.

  • Live in England? Most people pay for prescriptions at £8.20 a go, so it all depends how many tablets you are prescribed.

    You may get a month's worth for £8.20, you may get three. Just do the maths versus the cheapest equivalent above.

Obviously, if you don't pay for prescriptions, it'll be free, so is the cheapest way to get tablets. Also check out a pre-paid prescription certificate if you buy regularly.

If you or your child get free prescriptions, the little-known Minor Ailments Scheme means you may be able to get free hay fever meds at some pharmacists. It's not available everywhere, but it's worth checking if you're entitled. See the 20+ Medicine Savings guide for more help.

If you spot any cheaper deals, please report them in the Cheap Hay Fever Remedies discussion

Quick tips to reduce symptoms & other hay fever remedies

As well as cutting the cost of medication, there are a number of other ways to keep your summer sneezes to a minimum.

How to reduce hay fever symptoms

Antihistamines can help reduce the symptoms of hay fever, but there are a few practical measures to try when the pollen count is high (thanks to Asthma UK for some of these).

  • Check the pollen forecast. Be aware of when the pollen count is likely to be high. The Met Office has a searchable pollen forecast online map.

  • Vacuum and damp dust. Use a damp cloth to dust and remove any lingering pollen spores.

  • Keep windows and doors closed. This helps keep the pollen out.

  • Smear Vaseline inside your nose. This helps stop the pollen from settling on the lining of your nose.

  • Bring washing in early. Avoid drying clothes outside if you can. Air cools and pollen descends in the evening, so bring in washing from outside before this to save it getting covered. Give it a good shake before bringing it in.

If you're buying for kids, are pregnant, or simply find that antihistamine tablets don't work well for you, here are the cheapest alternatives. Prices can fluctuate, so always double-check:

Hay fever remedies for under-12s

Kids' RemediesChildren under 12 and pregnant women should take special care when choosing hay fever meds.

Kids' versions of products can cost more than the adult versions. Similarly, branded syrups can share the same active ingredient, only featuring different flavourings, and generic versions can be available.

Look at the ingredients and the dosage guidelines, rather than the spiel and fancy packaging.

  • Piriton Syrup (150ml): (Chlorphenamine Maleate) £3.79 from Boots for its own-brand version.

Eye drops and nasal sprays

Nasal spray While antihistamines should be enough to reduce hay fever symptoms for most, they're unlikely to totally relieve nasal congestion or streaming eyes. So it may be worth investing in a separate nasal spray, and/or eye drops.

Again, there are various types to watch out for and look out for generic equivalents. If you're unsure what to try first, consult your pharmacist.

  • Beclometasone (Beconase). This is £5.00 at Asda (100 sprays). Alternatively, a 200-spray unbranded version is £2.79 (+£1.99 delivery) at Chemist-4-U*.

  • Sodium Cromoglicate Eye Drops (Opticrom). You can find an unbranded version at Chemist-4-U* for 29p (+£1.99 delivery).

Light therapy and air purifiers

For some sufferers, a couple of pieces of technology have been claimed to alleviate hay fever symptoms without using any drugs. Anecdotal feedback has generally been positive, though as ever with alternative therapies, usefulness is in the eye (or nose) of the beholder.

  • Air purifier

    Light therapy. This is based on the idea of using red light to desensitise nasal passages in a bid to defend you from allergic reactions and reduce inflammation.

    There's a range of different models available. They can be pretty expensive at full price, retailing for as much as £30 or more, but it's possible to get them for about £20 on Amazon* or during sales or offer periods.

  • Air purifiers. If you struggle to sleep at night because of the pollen swirling around your bedroom, air purifiers may also be helpful.

    Air purifier

    These often mildly noisy devices work to clean the air in any room, either by filtering (HEPA-type) or ionising air molecules.

    These generally cost upwards of £30, but again, it's sometimes possible to get them for about £15 via Amazon*. For more on air purifiers, see Wikipedia's air purifier entry.

For extra feedback on these devices, read MoneySaver Harryharp's useful forum thread.