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About antihistamines

Histamine is a chemical that gets released into the bloodstream when someone has an allergic reaction. When it connects to receptors on specific cells in your body, histamine is responsible for the symptoms of allergies. Antihistamines reduce the effects of histamine at certain cell receptors, which is how they can treat allergic reactions.

Antihistamines that are available without a prescription over-the-counter (OTC) can be helpful in treating symptoms such as:

congestion

runny nose

sneezing

itching

nasal swelling

hives

skin rashes

eyes that are sore and watery

Continue reading to learn about the various brand-name antihistamines and how they can help relieve the symptoms of your allergy.

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First-generation antihistamine brands

The oldest category of oral antihistamines available over-the-counter is the first generation, which includes chlorpheniramine and diphenhydramine. They are sedating, which means that after using them, you will most likely feel sleepy as a result of their effects. They don’t stay in your body for as long, which means you have to take them more frequently than you would with newer generations of the drug. Benadryl and Chlor-Trimeton are examples of brands that belong to the first generation.

Benadryl

Benadryl’s primary active component is the antihistamine diphenhydramine, which was developed in the first generation of the drug class. Benadryl can help alleviate symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, itchy or watery eyes, and itchiness in the nose or throat. The common cold, hay fever, or one of several other types of upper respiratory allergies could be the cause of these symptoms. Benadryl’s anti-itch and anti-redness properties also make it an effective treatment for hives.

It is available in the form of a capsule, a tablet, a chewable tablet, a tablet that dissolves in your mouth, a tablet that may be chewed, a tablet that dissolves in your mouth, a liquid, and a liquid-filled capsule. Benadryl is also available in topical forms that can be applied directly to the skin to treat allergic skin problems like hives. These forms include creams, gels, and sprays.

The following are some examples of additional common over-the-counter brands that include the antihistamine diphenhydramine:

Banophen

Siladryl

Unisom

Benadryl-D Allergy Plus Sinus

Robitussin Nighttime Severe Cough, Cold, and Flu Protection

Sinus congestion treated with Sudafed PE day and night

Chlor-Trimeton

Chlorpheniramine is the primary active component that may be found in Chlor-Trimeton. The symptoms of hay fever that it helps treat include sneezing, runny nose, itchy or watery eyes, and irritation in the nose and throat. Additionally, it alleviates the symptoms of various respiratory allergies.

Tablets with immediate release and extended-release are both available, as well as chewable tablets, lozenges, capsules, and liquid forms of the medication.

Other popular brands that contain chlorpheniramine as its primary active component include the following:

Aller-Chlor

Chlorphen-12

Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold & Cough Liquid Gels

Allerest Maximum Strength

Comtrex

Negative effects of antihistamines from the first generation

Antihistamines of the first generation have been linked to a number of potential adverse effects, including the following:

drowsiness

dryness in the throat, nose, and mouth

headache

A few less frequent adverse effects include the following:

dizziness

nausea

vomiting

lack of hunger and appetite

constipation

chest congestion

a lack of muscle strength

hyperactivity, in particular, is observed in children

nervousness

The following are examples of potentially major adverse effects:

eyesight troubles

Having difficulty peeing or experiencing pain while urinating

In general, elderly persons are more likely to experience these adverse effects.

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Warnings

If you have an enlarged prostate that makes it difficult for you to urinate, you should talk to your doctor before using first-generation antihistamines. This is because an enlarged prostate can make it difficult for you to urinate. These medications might make your problem with urinating even more severe. If you have any of the following health issues, you should discuss utilizing these medications with your physician before doing so:

respiratory difficulties brought on by emphysema or chronic bronchitis

glaucoma

hypertension; high blood pressure

coronary artery disease

seizures

thyroid problems

Before taking first-generation antihistamines, you should discuss with your physician the possibility of drowsiness caused by other medications you take, such as sedatives or tranquilizers. Drinking alcohol while taking any antihistamine is not recommended since alcohol might amplify the side effect of sleepiness that can be caused by antihistamines.

Brands of antihistamines from the second and third generations

Oral antihistamines available over-the-counter that are in their second and third generations have been designed to target their action on receptors that are more selective. This helps reduce adverse effects, including drowsiness, which can sometimes occur. Additionally, because the effects of these medications last longer in the body, you will require lower doses.

Zyrtec

Zyrtec’s primary action comes from the antihistamine called cetirizine. Hay fever and other upper respiratory allergens can cause symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, and itching in the nose or throat. This remedy can help reduce these symptoms. Hives can cause redness as well as itching, and Zyrtec can help relieve both of these symptoms. Tablets, chewable tablets, tablets that dissolve in your tongue, capsules filled with fluids, and syrup are the different forms that Zyrtec can be found in.

Other popular over-the-counter brands that contain cetirizine as their primary active component include the following:

Aller-Tec

Alleroff

Zyrtec-D

Wal Zyr-D

Cetiri-D

Concomitant effects

Zyrtec users may experience the following adverse effects quite frequently:

drowsiness

headache

an ache in the stomach

Breathing or swallowing difficulties are examples of serious adverse effects that may occur.

Warnings

If you use the bronchodilator theophylline, you should discuss it with your primary care physician. Zyrtec may interact with this medication, which may increase the likelihood that you will experience adverse effects.

It is best to avoid consuming alcohol when taking Zyrtec. Even while it causes less sleepiness than an antihistamine from the first generation, cetirizine nevertheless has the potential to make you sleepy. Consuming alcohol at the same time as taking this medication may exacerbate the drowsiness that it causes.

If you have a condition that affects your liver or kidneys, you should consult your physician before beginning treatment with Zyrtec. Diseases of the liver and kidneys can also interfere with cetirizine’s metabolism and elimination from the body.

If you suffer from asthma, you should also consult your physician before beginning treatment with Zyrtec. Cetirizine has been linked, in extremely unusual instances, to the development of bronchospasms.

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Claritin

The primary clinically significant component of Claritin is loratadine. Hay fever and other upper respiratory allergens can cause symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing, itchy, watery eyes, and itching of the nose or throat. This remedy can help reduce these symptoms. Hives are another condition that can be treated with Claritin. It can be taken in the form of a tablet, a chewable tablet, a tablet that dissolves in your mouth, a capsule that is filled with liquid, or a syrup.

In addition, loratadine is the primary active component in the following other over-the-counter brands:

Claritin-D

Alavert

Alavert-D

Wal-itin

Concomitant effects

The following are examples of some of the frequent negative effects that might occur after taking Claritin:

headache

drowsiness

One of the most serious potential adverse effects of Claritin is an allergic reaction. Symptoms may include the following:

rash

itching

difficulty in either breathing or swallowing

symptoms including swelling in the face, throat, tongue, lips, and eyes

hoarseness

Warnings

If you suffer from liver or renal illness, you should consult your physician before beginning treatment with Claritin. Having problems with either your liver or your kidneys can make it more difficult for your body to handle and eliminate loratadine. This can cause more of the drug to remain in your body, which raises the likelihood that you will experience negative side effects.

If you suffer from asthma, you should consult your physician before beginning treatment with Claritin. There have been isolated reports of loratadine causing patients to experience bronchospasms.

Allegra

Allegra’s primary active component, fexofenadine, is what makes the medication effective. Hay fever and other upper respiratory allergens can cause symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, and itching of the nose or throat. This remedy can help reduce these symptoms. Allegra is effective in the treatment of hives and rashes on the skin. It is available in the form of a tablet, a tablet that dissolves when placed in the mouth, a capsule with a gel coating, and a liquid.

Concomitant effects

Allegra is known to have a number of potential adverse effects, including the following:

headache

dizziness

diarrhoea

vomiting

a painful sensation in any of your limbs or back

pain with menstrual periods

cough

upset stomach

Allegra has the potential to cause serious adverse effects, including allergic reactions. Among the symptoms are:

hives

rash

itching

difficulty in either breathing or swallowing

symptoms including swelling in the face, throat, tongue, lips, and eyes

Warnings

If you are currently taking any medications, including the antifungal ketoconazole, the antibiotics erythromycin or rifampin, or any antacids, you should consult your physician before beginning treatment with Allegra. All of these other medications have the potential to interact with Allegra, increasing the likelihood that you will have adverse effects or reducing the benefits of taking Allegra.

While you are taking Allegra, you should avoid drinking fruit juice. The amount of Allegra that is absorbed by your body can also be reduced by drinking fruit juice. Because of this, the effectiveness of the medicine may decrease.

Before using Allegra, those who have kidney problems should consult with their primary care physician. Allegra can be eliminated more slowly from your body if you have a kidney illness. Because of this, the likelihood of experiencing negative consequences may increase.

When selecting an antihistamine, there are a few things to keep in mind.

You have several options to choose from when it comes to over-the-counter (OTC) drugs if you suffer from allergies. Antihistamines with brand names such as the following are included in this category:

Benadryl

Chlor-Trimeton

Zyrtec

Claritin

Allegra

Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you are unsure which drug could work best for you if you are currently taking any. If you are already treating your allergy symptoms with other medications, check to see that the active components in those medications are not the same as or belong to the same pharmacological class as the active ingredient in the antihistamine that you are considering taking. It is important that you do not take an excessive amount of any drug. Always check with your family physician or pharmacist to help prevent this problem.



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