What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider
- What type of antihistamine would work best for me?
- How do I proper take the prescribed antihistamine?
- What side effects might occur with the recommended medication?
- What antihistamine wont interfere with the current medications I am taking?
- When, or for what conditions, does taking an antihistamine that would make me drowsy make sense?
- Can I live my life normally while using this medication? Can I drive? Can I operate heavy machinery?
- Can I take antihistamines if I am pregnant, planning to become pregnancy or am breastfeeding?
- Can antihistamines be safely given to my child?
- What are the consequences if I dont take an antihistamine to help with my allergies?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Histamine is on your side. The chemical does its best to regulate help your heart and lungs and protect your body from foreign allergens, among other roles. But it can be oversensitive, and it can overreact, and thats where antihistamines can help. If youre have allergies, stomach symptoms or any of the other conditions and symptoms mentioned in this article, talk to your healthcare provider about your options. Your symptoms may be able to be treated.
Always check with your healthcare provider and your pharmacist if you have concerns about antihistamines, and always follow the directions on the labels!
Products Contraindicated With Asthma
Asthma was once a labeled contraindication for allnonprescription products containing first-generation antihistamines. Therationale behind this labeled contraindication was discussed by an OTCreview panel appointed to examine antihistamines in its original 1976report: The Panel is aware that a controversy exists concerning the useof antihistamines in patients with bronchial asthma where a dryingaction is undesirable. Many physicians consider this effect to bedisadvantageous in patients with bronchial asthma and some maintain thatthe antihistaminic drugs are contraindicated in patients with thisdisease.2 Products carried this label for years. In 1985,the FDA published a tentative final monograph for antihistamines,agreeing with the need for this label.3
In 1992, however, the FDA published its final rule on labeling for nonprescription first-generation antihistamines.4In this document, the agency described the conclusions of a 1990meeting of the FDAs Pulmonary-Allergy Drugs Advisory Committee.Participants believed that first-generation antihistamines did not havesufficient anticholinergic effects to be problematic for those withasthma, removing the term asthma from the warnings. Second-generationantihistamines have never beenrequired to carry an asthma warning.
How To Take And Store
You can take most antihistamines with or without food.
People generally take second-generation antihistamines in the morning. However, suppose your healthcare provider prescribes both an antihistamine and a leukotriene modifier for allergic asthma. In that case, it’s common to take the antihistamine in the morning and the leukotriene modifier in the evening.
You should store most antihistamines at room temperature. Read the product label for exact ranges to ensure they don’t get too warm or cold.
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Working Our Your Pollen Triggers
To work out which pollen sets off your hay fever, make a note of any days when your symptoms are bad. Then you can use a pollen calendar to work out which pollen you are allergic to and find out when it is released. Look at the pollen chart here:
If you already know which pollen triggers you?
If you know pollen is a trigger for your asthma, speak to your GP or asthma nurse who can give additional support and advice to help you manage your asthma at this time.
Alcohol may make your symptoms worse
Alcohol contains histamine that is also released as part of the bodys reaction to allergies. It is therefore strongly suggested that alcohol can increase the sensitivity of the body to pollen and other allergens. It is advisable to avoid alcohol if you have a prone to allergic reactions or are asthmatic. Particularly if you are experiencing a worsening of your asthma or hay fever.
Prepare for pollen season
If you regularly get hay fever, start taking antihistamines up to four weeks before you normally get symptoms.
Remember a steroid nasal spray can take up to two weeks to start working, so start using it before your personal pollen trigger is released.
How can you treat a pollen allergy?
The best treatment is to avoid the allergen, but pollen is extremely difficult to avoid. To reduce your exposure to pollen you can:
- stay indoors on dry, windy days
- ask others do the gardening during peak pollen seasons
- keep doors and windows closed when you know pollen counts are due to be high
Additional Information For Patients And Parents/caregivers
- FDA is requiring a Boxed Warning stating that serious mental health side effects that may include suicidal thoughts or actions have been reported in patients taking the asthma and allergy medicine montelukast .
- Most reported cases occurred during montelukast treatment, but some occurred after stopping the medicine. In many cases, symptoms resolved after stopping montelukast however, in some cases symptoms continued after stopping.
- Serious mental health side effects have occurred in patients with and without a history of mental illness.
- Talk with your health care professional about the benefits and risks of montelukast, as many other safe and effective allergy medicines are widely available, including over-the-counter ones, without a prescription. These include antihistamines such as loratadine , fexofenadine , cetirizine , levocetirizine , and diphenhydramine , as well as steroid nasal sprays such as fluticasone , triamcinolone , and budesonide . Alternatively, allergen immunotherapy, also known as allergy shots, has been shown to decrease symptoms of allergic rhinitis. A pharmacist or other health care professional can help you decide which might be best.
- Stop taking montelukast and notify a health care professional right away if you or your child experience behavior or mood-related changes while taking the medicine. These may include:
- agitation, including aggressive behavior or hostility
- attention problems
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Do Antihistamines Help Allergic Asthma
If you are someone who frequently suffers from nasal congestion, itchiness, or other allergy symptoms, youve probably heard the term antihistamine thrown around. They are commonly used for people with allergies, but are they useful for people with allergic asthma?
Allergic AsthmaWhen you have allergies combined with asthma, you most likely have the most common form of asthma called allergic asthma. People with this condition experience asthma symptoms like trouble breathing when they are exposed to something they are allergic to.
AntihistaminesAntihistamines are medications that help stop symptoms caused by histamines. For some people, exposure to normally benign substances like pet dander or pollen can trigger an allergic reaction. During an allergic reaction, your immune system fights against the perceived threat by releasing a substance called histamines. Histamines are what cause the symptoms associated with allergies like sneezing, congestion, and itchiness.
Antihistamine UsesAntihistamines are generally used for the treatment or prevention of nasal allergy symptoms like congestion, sneezing, and a runny nose. They help with both seasonal and year-round allergies and can provide relief from other allergic conditions like hives.
Allergy TreatmentIn addition to taking antihistamines, you should try to avoid any irritants that trigger your allergies. The most common allergens are mould, dust, pets, and pollen.
Mild And Serious Side Effects
Allegra and Claritin are considered newer antihistamines. One benefit of using a newer antihistamine is that theyre less likely to cause drowsiness than older antihistamines.
The other side effects of Allegra and Claritin are similar, but in most cases, people dont experience any side effects with either drug. That said, the following tables list examples of possible side effects of these drugs.
|Mild side effects|
If you experience any serious side effects that may indicate an allergic reaction, get emergency medical treatment right away.
Two things you should consider when taking any medication is the possible drug interactions and potential problems related to health conditions you have. These are not all the same for Allegra and Claritin.
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Will Aspirin And Other Pain Relievers Make My Asthma Worse
Aspirin and other drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may be harmful for people who have asthma. Ibuprofen and naproxen are a few examples of NSAIDs. If you are allergic to aspirin, ask your doctor or pharmacist to make sure any new medicine you might take is not related to aspirin.
People who have asthma can usually take acetaminophen safely. This medicine is typically used to relieve fever and pain. Very rarely, even acetaminophen may make asthma worse, which has prompted further studies to explore the link between acetaminophen and asthma. If acetaminophen makes your asthma worse, tell your doctor. They can help you find another type of pain reliever.
What About Medicines For Blood Pressure
Beta-blockers, used to control blood pressure and heart disease, can make asthma worse. This group of drugs includes propranolol, atenolol, and metoprolol. If you have started taking a beta-blocker and your asthma gets worse, tell your doctor.
ACE inhibitors are another type of medicine given to treat blood pressure, heart disease and, sometimes, diabetes. Drugs such as captopril, enalapril, and lisinopril are included in this group. These medicines appear to be safe for people who have asthma. However, some people develop a cough when taking ACE inhibitors. If you start coughing while youre taking an ACE inhibitor, remember that the cough might not be caused by your asthma. If the cough is caused by the ACE inhibitor, it will usually go away a week or so after you stop taking the medicine. If you develop other problems that make your asthma worse, call your doctor to see if you should stop taking your ACE inhibitor.
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Zyrtec Can Also Treat Feline Allergic Asthma
According to AmericanVeterinarian, Allergic asthma is prevalent in cats, but researchers cant explain why.
Symptoms range from sneezing, wheezing, and coughing, and oftentimes, a cat experiences all three. What they do know is early and constant treatment allow cats to live nearly symptom-free lives.
Cats can have this along with other conditions, especially a cold, so you should have your kitty checked by a vet to rule it out if you suspect allergies.
Does Loratadine Raise Blood Pressure
Loratadine , an over-the-counter non-sedating antihistamine, does not usually increase blood pressure when used alone as a single ingredient. Some OTC combination products do contain loratadine plus the decongestant pseudoephedrine , which can raise your blood pressure. In the US, Claritin-D and the generic are normally kept behind the pharmacy counter. If you have high blood pressure, are being treated for high blood pressure, or have concerns about your blood pressure, ask your doctor before you use pseudoephedrine in any form.
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Comparisons With Other Allergy Medications
Researchers are often studying, comparing, and improving antihistamines. Other popular brands on the market today are Allegra and Benadryl.
- Allegra contains the active ingredient fexofenadine. Allegra is non-sedating, so it should not make a person feel drowsy. Allegra is also a second-generation antihistamine.
- Benadryl contains the active ingredient diphenhydramine. This acts faster than the other three and aims to treat minor skin reactions, not seasonal allergies. Benadryl is a first-generation antihistamine, which makes it sedating, so people tend to feel drowsy after taking it.
When a person comes into contact with an allergen, their immune system reacts and produces a chemical called histamine.
Histamine causes many allergy symptoms, including inflammation of the skin or sinuses, pain, redness, and wheezing.
Immune responses also encourage extra mucus to develop, which helps to clear allergens from the nose and throat.
Allergy medications block histamine responses. This dulls the bodys response to minor or harmless allergens, such as pollen, dust, and pet dander.
Claritin and Zyrtec are effective and safe for most people with minor allergies. However, as with all medications, there may be some side effects.
Loratadinepresent in Claritinmay not be safe for people with severe liver conditions. The liver has to break down loratadine. The kidneys break down cetirizinefound in Zyrtecand the body excretes it in the urine, largely unchanged.
Do I Need To Make Lifestyle Changes
Allergens are the root cause of allergic asthma. By staying away from these allergens, you can help prevent asthma symptoms.
The lifestyle changes you need to make depend on your specific triggers. In general, you can help reduce attacks by allergen-proofing your home and modifying your daily outdoor activities to prevent exposure.
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Cautions With Other Medicines
Some medicines and loratadine interfere with each other and increase the chances of you having side effects.
Tell your doctor if youâre taking:
- amiodarone, a medicine used to treat an irregular heartbeat
- cimetidine, an indigestion medicine
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What If My Medications Stop Working
If your medications dont seem to be working, you may have to modify your treatment plan.
Symptoms of allergic asthma can change over time. Some long-term medications might be less effective as time goes on. Its important to discuss symptom and medication changes with your doctor.
Using an inhaler or other quick-acting medications too often is a sign that your allergic asthma isnt under control. Talk to your doctor about your current treatment options and whether youll need to make any changes.
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Is There A Cure For Allergic Asthma
Theres no cure for allergic asthma. Therefore, its important to adhere to your treatments and follow your doctors advice.
Doing so can prevent severe complications, such as airway remodeling, which is permanent narrowing of the breathing passages. This complication affects how well you can inhale air in and exhale air out of your lungs.
How Is Allergic Rhinitis Treated In Children
Some corticosteroid nasal sprays can be used in children as young as 2 years.
Antihistamine tablets can be used for children with mild allergic rhinitis or young children who will not tolerate nasal sprays. Some can be taken by children as young as 12 months. Only newer antihistamines, which cause less sleepiness, should be given to children.
Montelukast tablets are effective for some children.
Your doctor may recommend other medicines.
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Other Things You Can Do
Saline rinses: Your doctor may recommend that you use a salt water solution daily to help clear your nose and soothe the lining of the nose. Syringes and rinse bottles are available from pharmacies.
Avoid smoke: People with allergic rhinitis should not smoke and should avoid other peoples cigarette smoke. Smoking makes asthma and rhinitis worse, and can prevent medicines from working properly. Bushfires and wood smoke may also worsen allergic rhinitis and asthma.
Avoid allergens: Your doctor can help you work out which allergens trigger your allergic rhinitis and asthma. Try to avoid your allergy triggers if you can. See Avoiding allergens for tips.
If medication does not clear a badly blocked nose, doctors may occasionally recommend a surgical operation called turbinate reduction. Surgery is not a cure for rhinitis, but may help with symptoms in severe cases.
Before taking any medication for allergic rhinitis, you should tell your doctor or pharmacist if:
- you have any other medical conditions or are pregnant
- you are taking any other medicines
- you have been experiencing nose bleeds.
What Did Fda Find
We reviewed case reports submitted to FDA*, conducted an observational study using data from the FDAâs Sentinel System, and reviewed observational and animal studies in the published literature. Given the available information, we also reevaluated the benefits and risks of use of montelukast.
We continue to receive reports of mental health side effects reported with montelukast use. Consistent with our prior evaluations, a wide variety of mental health side effects have been reported, including completed suicides. Some occurred during montelukast treatment and resolved after stopping the medicine. Other reports indicated that mental health side effects developed or continued after stopping montelukast. The Sentinel study, which studied asthma patients 6 years and older, and other observational studies did not find an increased risk of mental health side effects with montelukast compared to inhaled corticosteroids . However, the Sentinel study and the observational studies had some limitations which may affect how we interpret the results. We also reviewed animal studies, which showed that montelukast given orally reaches the brain in rats.1
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Warning: Combination Allergy Medications
Antihistamines are also available in combination allergy products with , such as pseudoephedrine, that can interact with several medications and raise the risk of side effects. Consult your doctor before taking a combination product.
First-generation antihistamines are considered anticholinergic drugs since they block activity of acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter that transmits messages within the brain and throughout the central nervous system.
Anticholinergics can worsen certain conditions or lead to serious complications. Talk with your doctor before taking one of these drugs if you have any of the following conditions that may prohibit their use:
- Urinary obstruction
Research has also found a link between anticholinergics and an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimers disease. As none of the second-generation antihistamines are anticholinergics, those with a family history of Alzheimersor those taking Benadryl frequentlymay want to switch to one of these drugs.
How Much Does Singulair Cost
Without insurance, Singulair typically costs nearly $300 for a months supply. Its expensive because its a brand name. The generic version, montelukast, is more commonly prescribed and significantly less pricey.
If your Singulair prescription isnt covered by your insurance plan, dont assume that means you cant take it. SingleCares prescription discount card may make the medication more affordable for you. Get a free prescription discount card or ask your pharmacist to check for available discounts when you bring in your prescription to the pharmacy.
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How Does Singulair Work For Allergies
When your body is exposed to an allergen, it releases chemicals that initiate an allergic response. These chemicals are often histamines, but they can be leukotrienes, too. The release of these chemicals causes inflammation in the respiratory system and is responsible for all the itching, sneezing, wheezing, and coughing that happens if you come into contact with something youre allergic to.
Singulair targets the pathways that leukotrienes travel along, which stops the chemical from creating an allergic response. If you havent found symptom relief with antihistaminesor if they help some of your symptoms, but not allyour provider may prescribe Singulair to be taken alone or in combination with other drugs like oral antihistamines and intranasal steroids.
There is not a one-size-fits-all treatment plan, so some people may benefit from only Singulair, but some may need other medications to feel better, Kathleen Dass, MD, an allergist and immunologist privately practicing in Michigan. It can especially be helpful with pet allergies, stuffy noses, or children who may not be able to tolerate a nose spray.