Antihistamines are essential drugs to fight against allergies.
They work by blocking the action of histamine, a chemical released by the immune system during an allergic reaction.
It is often complicated to understand the list of antihistamines available on the market, so we will help you choose the treatment that best suits your needs.
You can also find the 5 steps to relieve your pollen allergy .
The different types of antihistamines
There are two main categories of antihistamines:
- H1 antihistamines
- H2 antihistamines
H1 antihistamines primarily target allergic skin, respiratory and ocular manifestations.
H2 blockers are mostly used to treat histamine-related stomach problems.
H1 antihistamines are most commonly prescribed to relieve symptoms such as
- runny nose
- watery red eyes.
These drugs fall into two subcategories: first-generation antihistamines and second-generation antihistamines.
First-generation antihistamines: These drugs have a sedative effect and can cause drowsiness, dizziness and impaired coordination. They are generally not recommended for the elderly and drivers of vehicles.
Among them are chlorphenamine , diphenhydramine and hydroxyzine .
Second-generation antihistamines: these drugs have a less sedative effect than first-generation ones and are therefore better tolerated by patients.
Among them, we can mention aerius , zyrtec or even bilaska .
H2 antihistamines are mainly used to treat gastric disorders linked to histamine, such as stomach and duodenal ulcers or even gastroesophageal reflux disease.
These drugs work by reducing the production of stomach acid.
Among the most commonly prescribed H2 antihistamines are
How to choose the right antihistamine?
The choice of an antihistamine depends on several factors, such as the nature of your symptoms to be treated, your age, your medical history and its possible contraindications.
Here are some tips to help you choose the most suitable treatment:
- Consult a doctor: only a health professional can guide you towards the most appropriate treatment depending on your situation.
- Favor second-generation antihistamines: these drugs are less likely to cause sedative side effects and are therefore better tolerated by most patients.
- Consider your medical history: certain conditions or current treatments may contraindicate the use of certain antihistamines. Do not hesitate to discuss this with your doctor.
The main brands of antihistamines available on the market
The market for antihistamines is vast and offers a wide choice of products to meet the specific needs of each patient.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of the main brands of antihistamines that you can find in pharmacies:
- Aerius: This second-generation antihistamine is indicated for the treatment of symptoms of allergic rhinitis and urticaria.
- Zyrtec: also second generation, this drug is used to relieve allergic skin and respiratory manifestations.
- Bilaska: this second-generation antiallergic treatment is effective against the symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis, allergic rhinitis and urticaria.
- Allergodil: This antihistamine eye drop is prescribed to treat the symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis.
Side effects of antihistamines
Like all medications, antihistamines can cause side effects in some people.
It is important to be aware of these effects and to consult a doctor if necessary.
Here are some of the most common side effects experienced with the use of antihistamines:
- Drowsiness: This effect is most common with first-generation antihistamines, but can also occur with some second-generation drugs.
- Dry mouth: This symptom is often associated with H1 antihistamines, especially first-generation ones.
- Gastrointestinal Disorders: Some patients may experience nausea, vomiting, or abdominal pain when taking antihistamines.
- Drug interactions: Antihistamines can interact with other drugs and potentiate their effects, especially sedatives and narcotic pain relievers. Be sure to tell your doctor about all the treatments you are taking.