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Piriton (chlorpheniramine) for hay fever

Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen MartinReviewed on 19.10.2023 | 3 minutes read
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Piriton (which contains chlorpheniramine) is an over-the-counter medicine known as a sedating antihistamine used to treat hay fever symptoms. It comes in both syrup and tablet form. The brand is not available in the US. The generic is available in tablet form.

It is known as sedating as it can cause drowsiness, but newer non-drowsy antihistamines are available, such as loratadine and cetirizine. It is used to relieve the symptoms of allergies in a wide range of allergic conditions, including hay fever, insect bites, pet allergies, food allergies, contact dermatitis, and atopic eczema. Chlorpheniramine is useful in relieving symptoms of itching, sneezing, runny nose, skin rash, and red/itchy/watery eyes.

Doctor’s advice

Who is it for?

This medication is used for anyone over the age of 6 years suffering from allergies caused by pollen (hay fever), animals, or food.

Chlorpheniramine Tablets

  • For adults and children aged 12 years and older, the typical dosage is one tablet (4 mg) every 4 to 6 hours, as needed. The maximum daily dose is usually 24 mg.

  • For children aged 6 to 12 years, the dosage may be half a tablet (2 mg) every 4 to 6 hours. The maximum daily dose for this age group is typically 12 mg.

Chlorpheniramine Syrup (Liquid)

  • For adults and children aged 12 years and older, the usual dosage is 10 ml (containing 4 mg chlorphenamine) every 4 to 6 hours, as needed.

  • For children aged 6 to 12 years, the recommended dosage is 5 ml (containing 2 mg chlorphenamine) every 4 to 6 hours.

Children between 2 and 6 years may use chlorpheniramine if recommended by a doctor. Always follow the dosing instructions provided on the packaging or as directed by a healthcare professional. If you have any questions or concerns about the appropriate dosage for yourself or your child, it's advisable to consult with your local pharmacist or doctor.

How does it work?

During an allergic reaction, your immune system releases a chemical called histamine, which is responsible for the symptoms of an allergy. Antihistamines work by opposing the actions of histamine by stopping histamine from binding to its target sites in the body.

The chemical structure of drowsy antihistamines means they can enter the brain through what is known as the blood-brain barrier. This makes them more likely to cause drowsiness compared to other antihistamines. Another antihistamine may be a better choice if you need to stay alert, such as for driving or performing skilled tasks.

Should anyone avoid taking it?

This medication should not be used by children under 2 years old unless under instruction by your doctor. Like all medications, don’t take them if you have previously had an allergic reaction to the medication, if you have severe kidney or liver problems, or if you have other medications or medical conditions that you would normally discuss with your doctor or pharmacist before starting something new. Do not take it if you have breathing problems, glaucoma, or an enlarged prostate.

Are there any side effects?

Some people are bound to get unwanted side effects as with any medication. Common symptoms include drowsiness, dry mouth, headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, and lack of concentration.

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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
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