Antihistamine – types of antihistamines, purpose and benefits.

Antihistamine is a drug that restricts the body from producing histamine, which is a chemical released when somebody has an allergic reaction. Increased level of histamine in the body causes very common allergic reactions.

The symptoms are watery eyes, hives, itchiness in the throat, and congestion in the nasal area. These antihistamines may also be used for treating anxiety, motion sickness and sleep aid.

Types of Antihistamines

Two different types of antihistamine exist – the older group and the newer group. The older group consists of sedating antihistamines that cause drowsiness as they enter the brain. However, the antihistamines belonging to the newer group is non-sedative in nature and does not provide any drowsy feeling. The sedating antihistamines are normally used at night, as they reduce the itchiness that grows during the night. On the other hand, the non-sedating ones cannot lower the itchy feeling effectively. Moreover, antihistamines are also available in form of cream but not as effective as the former two.


Many people use these medicines to get relief from the severe itching caused by eczema. Scratching provides temporary relief but releases inflammatory substances within the skin. This worsens the eczema as it thickens and weeps in the skin surface. This is also known as the “itch-scratch-itch” cycle. Antihistamines are medicines that reduce the severity of the itching and help in breaking the cycle to some extent.

Suitability and Side-Effects.

An antihistamine can cause various kinds of side-effects. They include:

•    Visionary blurriness
•    Headaches
•    Drowsiness
•    Constipation
•    Dizziness
•    Urine retention
•    Obstruction of the gut
•    Glaucoma

This is the reason why extra care should be taken. People with any kind of liver disease or kidney-related disease should consume lower dose of these medicines and pregnant women are recommended against these antihistamines unless specifically prescribed by the doctor, as the measure of safety of these medicines during the period of pregnancy has not been successfully established.

Benefits of  Using Antihistamines

Topical skin relief provider: An antihistamine can provide great relief from the irritation occurring in the skin. These kinds of topical antihistamines are used for the treatment against hives, bug bites and various other kinds of inflammation on the skin. They come in the form of cream and can be applied directly in the affected area of the skin.

Relief against cold: The ability of the antihistamines to resist fluid in the head prevents development of sinus. When a person suffers from cold, excess amount of mucus gets trapped in the sinus cavity and in the ears, and this trapped fluid might give rise to various infections. The antihistamines prevent these infections.

Relief against allergy: As per the American Academy of Otolaryngology, the most common benefit of these antihistamines is that they provide relief against allergy. They are useful against a runny nose, sneezing which are caused by histamine.

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