Benefits Plans - Prescription Drug Plan: Drug Plan Updates and New Drug Releases -
Antihistamine Coverage Changes

Page last updated: Wednesday, 26-May-2010 20:51:18 EDT

January 7, 2008

In October 2007, the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the sale of the entire cetirizine (Zyrtec) product line for sale as an over-the-counter (OTC) medication. Both generic cetirizine and brand Zyrtec OTC product lines will be available late January 2008. The OTC product line includes Zyrtec 10mg, Zyrtec 5mg, Zyrtec 5mg chewables, Zyrtec 10mg chewables, Zyrtec syrup, and Zyrtec-D. Zyrtec is one of several newer antihistamine medications available today. The University of Michigan Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) reviewed the newer antihistamine drug class and made the following recommendations:

  1. When the Zrytec product line is available over-the-counter in January 2008, the Rx Zyrtec product line will not be covered for new or refill prescriptions for all participants in the U-M Prescription Drug Plan.
  2. Effective immediately levocetirizine (Xyzal) will not be covered for new or refill prescriptions. Xyzal contains the same active component as Zyrtec.
  3. Effective April 1, 2008:
    • All remaining branded newer antihistamines with or without pseudoephedrine will not be covered for new or refill prescriptions. These include:
      Clarinex tablets, syrup, RediTabs, or Clarinex-D
      Allegra tablets, suspension, ODT, or Allegra-D
    • Generic fexofenadine 30mg, 60mg, and 180mg tablets will continue to be covered at the lowest co-pay level.

For more information, see 2008 Coverage of Newer Antihistamines Questions and Answers (PDF).

The University of Michigan in its sole discretion may modify, amend, or terminate the benefits provided with respect to any individual receiving benefits, including active employees, retirees, and their dependents. Although the university has elected to provide these benefits this year, no individual has a vested right to any of the benefits provided. Nothing in these materials gives any individual the right to continued benefits beyond the time the university modifies, amends, or terminates the benefit. Anyone seeking or accepting any of the benefits provided will be deemed to have accepted the terms of the benefits programs and the university's right to modify, amend or terminate them.