FIRST Generation Antihistamines
Brand name is in italics.
Generic is the bolded name.
Major Side Effects-drowsiness and dry mouth
- Benadyl (diphenhydramine)-#1 for stopping allergy symptoms and inducing sleep. Strongest medication of the two groups. 2 teaspoonfuls of child’s liquid equal 1 adult dose.
- Chlor-Trimeton (chlorpheniramine)-Similar in strength to its buddy right below. For nighttime use, otherwise may cause you to feel “under the influence.”
- (brompheniramine)-Not as popular as the others in the group. Do not use if driving, operating heavy machinery or anything requiring attention.
SECOND Generation Antihistamines
Side Effects Minimal
Starts working in 1-3 hours, doesn’t cause drowsiness
- Allegra (fexofenadine)- Doesn’t cause drowsiness and taken once daily like the others in this grouping.
- Alavert, Claritin (loratadine)-Up to 72 hours for full-effects
- Zyrtec (cetirizine)-Onset maybe a bit faster than loratadine
Do you have sneezing, itching, a runny nose and watery eyes? Renovating Your Mind says, “if you only have only one or all of these symptoms, purchase a single ingredient product containing an antihistamine.
There are two generations listed above indicating their beneficial actions and their side effects profile.
FIRST Generation antihistamines get into the brain. They are older agents and cause more side effects. Each dose only lasts about 4-6 hours. The advantages over second generation is they are stronger and have a faster onset of action. They are the sleepy time medications. A no-no if you are going to drive, operate heavy machinery or do anything that requires attention. They may also cause dry mouth and getting labeled as a grouch in the morning. In fact, you may feel like you need a pot of coffee to feel fully awake upon arising. Side effects increase the higher the dose.
SECOND Generation antihistamines don’t get into the brain. Therefore the drowsiness effect for the majority of patients is non-existent. Only medications for allergy symptoms that are allowed by the airlines for their pilots. So yes, you can be the designated driver and still take second generation agents. They also last a long time in the body which is usually about 24 hours. Sometimes, the full effects of these medications are not felt for a number of days. That being the case especially with Claritin. Do not take more than one dose per day because more is not better.
- Look for generics for the best prices.
- Liquid antihistamine preparations are excellent for adults. The dosing is much more flexible than having to deal with a tablet or a capsule.