The Pros and Cons of Common Antihistamines
Commonly available antihistamines treat mild to moderate allergy symptoms such as congestion, watery eyes, itchy skin, and sneezing. These medications have several benefits and provide significant relief from painful symptoms, but they can also cause side effects, including drowsiness and sedation if you are not careful. Consult an experienced allergy, asthma, and immunology doctor at the Century Medical and Dental Center to learn about the wide range of antihistamines and what harmful effects or withdrawal signs they can lead to. The specialist doctors work hard to detect and fight the allergies you are going through and recommend the best antihistamines that help your condition without causing any serious harm.
Antihistamines are the most commonly recommended medications for allergies. They are effective for treating symptoms like sneezing, runny or watery nose, itching, and cough, but there are potential drawbacks to these medications which most of us are not aware of. Before deciding to start or continue with any allergy medication, it is essential to understand if it is the accurate treatment for you. You should also check how it will help you feel better without causing any lingering side effects or lasting damage.
What Are Antihistamines, and How Do They Work?
Antihistamines are a medication class that helps with allergy symptoms.
When you have an allergic reaction, the body releases a substance, called histamine. Histamine causes allergy symptoms when it binds to receptors on certain cells in your body. Antihistamines work by decreasing the effects of histamine at specific cell receptors and provide relief.
Pros and Cons of Antihistamines
Antihistamines come in handy for a variety of allergic conditions as well as those associated with wakefulness and anxiety. In addition to treating allergies, they are frequently recommended for treating cold, motion sickness, nausea due to other causes, skin allergies, and to induce sleepiness in tensed or anxious patients. At the same time, they can end up causing various side effects that can be pretty intense or uncomfortable when they are not managed properly.
Benefits of Antihistamines
Antihistamines are a quick and convenient option for relieving allergy symptoms. They help with symptoms like:
- Runny nose;
- Nasal swelling;
- Skin rashes;
- Itchy and watery eyes;
- Sudden reactions to food or certain medications.
Antihistamines are also recommended for treating cold and flu symptoms as well as allergic reactions resulting from pollen, dust, mold, and pet dander. They come in both prescription and over-the-counter forms.
Potential Side Effects of Antihistamines
Both prescription and non-prescription antihistamines can have side effects. You must tell your healthcare provider about any other medications you are already using, and your alcohol intake to avoid further problems.
Common potential side effects include:
- Upset stomach;
- Dry mouth;
- Low blood pressure;
- Blurred vision;
- Difficulty in concentrating;
- Inability to work;
- Coordination problems.
First-generation antihistamines have been around for years and include diphenhydramine and chlorpheniramine. The most popular first-generation antihistamines include Benadryl and Chlor-Trimeton. They are known for being very sedating and making you drowsy after usage. They do not last long in the system, and they need more frequent doses to relieve symptoms. Over dosage or excessive of sedating antihistamines may lead to cardiac abnormalities or seizures.
The second and third-generation antihistamines cause less drowsiness and only need to be taken once or twice a day to relieve the symptoms as compared to the first-generation medications. Some commonly used second-generation antihistamines include Zyrtec, Claritin, and Allegra.
Healthcare experts believe that people over 65 should use antihistamines very carefully, especially first-generation antihistamines, as they increase the risk of falling and trouble to urinate.
Are There Any Possible Antihistamine Withdrawals?
Before starting with an antihistamine for your allergy, you should be aware of its potential withdrawal effects. Many people end up experiencing symptoms with cetirizine if they take it for a while and then stop suddenly. The main withdrawal symptoms are pruritus, burning, and itching sensations of the skin that may range from moderate to severe.
Other antihistamine withdrawal symptoms include disturbances in sleeping patterns. Side effects or withdrawal signs of these medications should not be ignored. If you experience side effects of antihistamines, call your doctor. If your condition does not seem to be getting any better or you develop fever, rashes, or persistent headaches, immediate medical attention is important. These may be a sign of some serious medical problem that needs medical attention.
Avoiding Antihistamine Side Effects and Risks
If you are not sure which allergy medication may be best for you, talk to your primary care doctor about it. Also, if you take any other medications to treat allergy symptoms, make sure that the active ingredients are not the same or in the same drug class as the active ingredient in the antihistamine to avoid any problems. Too much of any particular drug can be dangerous, and you should avoid taking unnecessary risks with medications as it can lead to life-threatening complications.
Long-term use of allergy medications can also lead to various health issues. They include liver and kidney damage and other conditions that may turn serious if they are not addressed timely.
Antihistamines are very efficient for relieving allergy symptoms, but they can also lead to side effects and withdrawal symptoms if you are not careful. It is about striking a balance and consulting your healthcare specialist about getting the best help for your allergies. The experienced and board-certified allergy, asthma and immunology doctors at the Century Medical and Dental Center help you understand the pros and cons of common antihistamines and recommend their correct usage. The top allergists in NY guide you in the right direction and make sure you use the best medication to treat your symptoms and get quick relief.