How to Treat Antihistamines?

Medical Treatment:
  • Antihistamines are medicines often used to relieve symptoms of allergies, such as hay fever, hives, conjunctivitis and reactions to insect bites or stings.
  • Sometimes they are also used to prevent motion sickness and to treat sleeping problems (insomnia) in the short term.
Types of antihistamine
There are many types of antihistamine that divided into two main categories:
  • Older antihistamines that make you feel sleepy - such as chlorphenamine, hydroxyzine and promethazine
  • Newer, non-drowsy antihistamines that are less likely to make you feel sleepy - such as cetirizine, loratadine and fexofenadine They also come in several different forms - including tablets, capsules, liquids, syrups, creams, lotions, gels, eye drops and nasal sprays.
How to take antihistamines
Before taking an antihistamine, you should know:
  • How to take it - including whether it needs to be taken with water or food, or how to use it correctly (if eye drops or a nasal spray)
  • How much to take (the dose) - this can vary depending on things such as your age and weight.
  • When to take it - including how many times a day you can take it and when to take it (older types should be taken before bedtime)
  • How long to take it for - some types can be used for a long time, but some are only recommended for a few days
  • What to do if you miss a dose or take too much (overdose)
Side effects of antihistamines
Antihistamines can cause side effects like all medicines:
  • Sleepiness (drowsiness) and reduced co-ordination, reaction speed and judgement - do not drive or use machinery after taking these antihistamines because of this risk
  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Difficulty emptying your bladder
Side effects of non-drowsy antihistamines can include:
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Feeling sick
  • Drowsiness - this is less common than with older types of antihistamines
Who can take antihistamines
Lot of people can safely take antihistamines. But speak to a pharmacist or your GP for advice if you:
  • Are pregnant
  • Are breastfeeding
  • Are looking for a medicine for a young child
  • Are taking other medicines have an underlying condition, such as heart disease, liver disease, kidney disease or epilepsy
In these cases, some antihistamines may not be appropriate. Your pharmacist or doctor can recommend one that is best for you.
Always read the leaflet that comes with your medicine to check it is safe for you before taking it or giving it to your child.