Back
healthwords.aihealthwords.ai
Cart
Search
treatment icon
treatment

Antihistamine tablets

Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen MartinReviewed on 19.10.2023 | 2 minutes read
EmailFacebookPinterestTwitter

Antihistamine tablets are a group of medications that prevent the level of histamine from rising in the body and reduce the symptoms this can cause. Antihistamines can be used to treat a range of conditions, including allergic reactions, motion sickness, and insomnia. However, the term "antihistamines" most commonly refers to medications that are used to treat hay fever.

Doctor’s advice

Who should take antihistamine tablets

If you are suffering from hay fever or allergic-type symptoms such as an itchy nose, itchy rash or bite on the skin, or redness and minor swelling of the skin, then an antihistamine may help relieve these symptoms.

Minor allergic reactions to products (washing detergent, creams, perfume), food, or plant reactions (stinging nettles) can be safely treated with over-the-counter antihistamines and should get better in hours to days. Make sure to avoid whatever caused the reaction in the future.

If you find that you are getting regular allergic reactions and do not know the reason why, you should discuss it with your doctor, and you may benefit from getting allergy testing.

Choosing an antihistamine

Once-daily antihistamines are available to buy and contain loratadine, cetirizine, levocetirizine, or fexofenadine. They are similar in effectiveness, but you may find one works better than another. They get to work within 1 to 3 hours and peak in effectiveness after 8 to 12 hours but last for at least 12 to 24 hours. At recommended doses, they are unlikely to make you drowsy.

Drowsy antihistamines

Older antihistamines are more likely to cause drowsiness – this may be an advantage if symptoms are worse at night, but not if you need to operate heavy machinery or drive long distances. Those containing chlorpheniramine or diphenhydramine (Benadryl) are older types. They work for a shorter amount of time, typically 4 to 6 hours, so you might need to take them several times a day or just when the pollen count is higher, typically early mornings and evenings. Despite this, some people think they work better for their particular hay fever – it's a question of trial and error on what works for you.

Prescription antihistamines

All options discussed above are available to buy over-the-counter. If they are ineffective, your doctor can prescribe prescription antihistamines or other options.

Was this helpful?

Was this helpful?

This article has been written by UK-based doctors and pharmacists, so some advice may not apply to US users and some suggested treatments may not be available. For more information, please see our T&Cs.
Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed on 19.10.2023
EmailFacebookPinterestTwitter
App Store
Google Play
Piff tick
Version 2.26.5
© 2024 Healthwords Ltd. All Rights Reserved