Antihistamines: Brands and Side Effects


Different drugs can treat allergies, including steroids and allergy shots, but usually the first thing to try is antihistamine.

How Antihistamines Treat Allergies

When your body comes into contact with your allergic triggers – pollen, ragweed, pet or Russian dust particles, for example – it makes chemistry called histamine. They make your nose tissue lavish (make it stuffy), to run your nose and eyes, and your eyes, nose and sometimes mouth to itch. Sometimes you can also call it an itchy rash, hives on your skin.

Antihistamines lower or block histamine, so they prevent allergic symptoms.

These medicines work well to overcome various types of allergic traits, including seasonal (grass fever), indoor and food allergies. But they can not overcome every symptom.

To treat nasal congestion, your doctor may recommend a decongestant. Some medicines combine an antihistamine and decongestant.

How are antihistamines available?

They come in various forms, including tablets, capsules, liquids, nose spray and eyedrops. Some are available only by prescription. Other you can buy at the counter (OTC) in your local pharmacy.

Prescription Antihistamines include:

•  Azelastine eyedrops (Optivar)
•  Azelastine nasal sprays (Astelin, Astepro)
•  Carbinoxamine (Palgic)
•  Cyproheptadine
•  Desloratadine (Clarinex)
•  Emedastine eyedrops (Emadine)
•  Hydroxyzine (Atarax, Vistaril)
•  Levocabastine eyedrops (Livostin)
•  Levocabastine oral (Xyzal)

OTC Antihistamines include:

•  Brompheniramine (Dimetane)
•  Cetirizine (Zyrtec)
•  Chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton)
•  Clemastine (Tavist)
•  Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
•  Fexofenadine (Allegra)
•  Loratadine (Alavert, Claritin)

Eyedrops treats allergic symptoms of eyes, including itching, water eyes. Some medicines combine an antihistamine and a decongestant to reduce the congestion.

Side Effects of Antihistamines

Older ones cause more side effects, especially drowsiness.

New antihistamines have fewer side effects, so they can be a better option for some people.

Some main side effects of antihistamine include:

•  Dry mouth
•  Sleepiness
•  Dizziness
•  Nausea and vomiting
•  Restlessness or mood (in some children)
•  Problems in urinating or urination
•  Blurred vision
•  Confusion
If you take an antihistamine that causes drowsiness, do so before sleeping. Do not take it during the day before running or using machinery.

Read the label before taking allergy medicine. Antihistamines can interact with other medicines that you are taking.

First talk to your doctor if you have an increased prostate, heart disease, high blood pressure, thyroid problems, kidney or liver disease, obstruction of the bladder, or glaucoma. If you are pregnant or are nursing, also check with your doctor.

Disclaimer: DrLinex has made every effort to ensure that all information is factually accurate, comprehensive and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a licensed health care professional’s choice of knowledge and expertise. You should always consult your doctor or other health care professional before taking any medication. The information given here is subject to change and it has not been used to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions or adverse effects. The lack of warning or other information for any drug does not indicate that the combination of medicine or medication is safe, effective or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

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